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March/April 2015




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In this issue:









Blushing Beauties: A Passion for All Things Pretty 126

A Vision Comes to Life: South Walton Fashion Week 2014 60

A Serendipitous Road: The Art of Designing Handbags 160

For the Love of Food

The New Urban: Style with Soul 168

A Southern-Inspired Dinner 26

Seasons of Style: Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Spring/Summer ’15 174

Epicurean Delights: Food Trucks Are on a Roll 34

Blogger Spotlight: Sannam and Style 188

Pearls before Wine 73

The Craftsmanship of Hats: Helen Kaminski Rules Supreme 196

From Belgium with Love: Twenty Years at the Red Bar 84

Arts and Entertainment

And We All Shine On 95

Snow, Camera, Action: Sundance Film Festival 2015 42

Consistently Consistent: Café Thirty-A Celebrates Twenty Years 130 Cooking Up Good Times: Recipes for a Spring Soirée 136 A Table for Thirty on 30A 146 In Vino Veritas 191 Couture Model Behavior: A Study in Stilettos 50 Top Model: Q&A with Emme Martin 104

New Beginnings A Wedding in Wine Country 119 Health The Path to Eden 153 People + Places Fifteen Shades of Duh 184

Style Is for Everyone – London Collections: Men 111 V IE Z INE .C OM | 13



Primary Targeted Audiences


e are thrilled you have picked up a copy of VIE and hope you enjoy reading about the people and places of our coveted region,

COLA 2 COLA®—Pensacola to Apalachicola. We live in a great place where life is

good! We have a passion for our area and the people and businesses found here, and we hope that you will share in our excitement. VIE can be found locally at Tourist Development Council centers, Chamber of Commerce locations, Sundog Books in Seaside, Florida, boutiques, restaurants,


bed-and-breakfasts, and special events. VIE’s distribution has branched out to the following airports: Baltimore/Washington International, Houston Hobby, Memphis International, Nashville International, Orlando International, and Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International. In addition to these high-profile locations, VIE is also being added to the shelves of some of the country’s top-selling bookstores, newsstands, and supermarkets, giving our advertisers potential access to millions of people.

VIE is a registered trademark. All contents herein are Copyright © 2008–2015 Cornerstone Marketing and Advertising, Incorporated (The Publisher). All rights reserved. No part of this periodical may be reproduced without written permission from The Publisher. VIE is a lifestyle magazine and is published at least five times annually on a bimonthly schedule. The opinions herein are not necessarily those of The Publisher. The Publisher and its advertisers will not be held responsible for any errors found in this publication. The Publisher is not liable for the accuracy of statements made by its advertisers. Ads that appear in this publication are not intended as offers where prohibited by state law. The Publisher is not responsible for photography or artwork submitted by freelance or outside contributors. The Publisher reserves the right to publish any letter addressed to the editor or The Publisher. VIE is a paid publication. Subscription rates: Digital magazine (iPad only) – One-year $11.99; Two-year $17.99 / Printed magazine – One-year $23.95; Two-year $34.95 (U.S. Only – price includes free access to digital magazine versions for iPad). Subscriptions can be purchased online at

On the Cover:

VIE Creative Team:

The Cultural Arts Alliance of Walton County’s second annual South Walton Fashion Week took place in October 2014 at Grand Boulevard Town Center and was an enormous success. One of the coveted prizes for the winners of both competitions—Emerging Designer and Model—was to be featured within the pages of VIE’s Food and Fashion Issue. The photos from the shoot by Sheila Goode were so spectacular that we chose a particularly striking one for the cover! SWFW 2014 winning model Maleena Pruitt perches on the rooftop terrace of an Alys Beach home designed by Jim Dungan of Dungan-Nequette Architects. The red ensemble by 2014 Emerging Designer Competition winner Romey Roe was stunning against a blue sky and the azure waters of the Gulf of Mexico on a blustery January afternoon. Kudos to everyone involved with SWFW! This event is a class act that has brought the art of fashion to the forefront in our area like never before! PHOTO BY SHEILA GOODE HAIRSTYLISTS: HEATHER MARTINEZ AND HOLLY HOLLAND OF VIVO SPA SALON MAKEUP ARTISTS: YVETTE NATION AND CHRISTINA ENGMAN OF MAC COSMETICS AT DILLARD’S PIER PARK JEWELRY: ARRIAGA’S PEARLS GONE WILD

Published by:

Lisa Burwell Publisher

Gerald Burwell Editor-in-Chief

Bob Brown VP of Creative Services

Tim Dutrow Videographer

Jordan Staggs Assistant Editor

Cami Fletcher Social Media Director

Tracey Thomas Art Director

Abigail Ryan Marketing Assistant

Devan Allegri Watkins Graphic Designer

Mary Jane Kirby Account Executive

Lucy Mashburn Graphic Designer

Julie Dorr Account Executive

Bill Weckel Web/Project Manager

Samantha Merritt Account Executive

Mark Thomas Web Developer

Margaret Stevenson Copy Editor Shannon Quinlan Distribution Coordinator

Robert Wagner Video Producer

VIE Contributors: Contributing Writers: Dale Foster Lauren Gall Jamie Gummere Anne Hunter Allyson Longshore J.L. Meyer

Tori Phelps Jami Anderson Ray Colleen Sachs T.S. Strickland Chad Thurman Sannam Warrender

Contributing Photographers:


114 Logan Lane, Suite 4 | Grayton Beach, FL 32459 w w w.t h e i de a b o u t iqu e


Marla Carter Shane Carter Cheryl Casey Dale Foster Jack Gardner Sheila Goode Steven Gray Zachary Gray Hayley Green Aranka Israni

Carmen Jones Chip Kennedy Romona Robbins Colleen Sachs Ashley Simmons Marcus Walton Goodlight Photography Modus Photography Paul Johnson Photography STM Photography

Contact us at

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A CULINARY DESTINATION The famed restaurant located in the Market Shops at Sandestin complete with an event lawn for weddings and special occassion celebrations. This expanded location allows for a rare and unmatched venue desination. Exquisite flowers, details to perfection, and a culinary sensation await!

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Publisher’s Note:


Dance by the Light of the Moon

My first experience of London was during a trip to cover London Fashion Week Autumn/Winter 2015 this past February—a trip that had been in the making for nearly two years. Since VIE has covered Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in NYC for the past eight years, and more Photo by Devan Allegri Watkins recently Berlin in January 2014, I had a strong desire to visit London to explore its culture and fashion for VIE. It was love at first sight—its beauty, history, creativity, and civility were exhilarating! And, the British sense of humor—so dry, it’s refreshing! I experienced all this even before attending the first fashion shows. Being able to see the obvious attractions such as Big Ben, the Tower Bridge, the carnival-like London Eye, the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace, and the locale of the Sherlock Holmes Museum at 221B Baker Street was magical. Curious highpoints to our trip in particular included having cupcakes and tea at the exquisite Hotel Café Royal on Regent Street, strolling through the ultrachic Burberry boutique on New Bond Street followed by lunch at the charmingly eccentric Sketch restaurant nearby, and seeing an inspiring playhouse performance of the long-running Billy Elliot the Musical. Of course, no one should leave London without a visit to world-famous Harrods, where the vast opulence can be somewhat overwhelming. Though most of the wares found within this retail oasis that occupies an entire city block are quite pricey, just about anyone can afford an indulgence at the whimsically old-fashioned candy store, where glass displays are crammed with designer chocolates and exotic treats. Setting the pace for the week, our first runway event was the Jasper Conran presentation at Somerset House—the hub for London Fashion Week, where fashion bloggers, industry press, and the paparazzi congregate. As the show was about to commence, I sat quietly under the dim lighting of the grand hall, mesmerized by the scene before my eyes—a catwalk blanketed with delicate autumn leaves placed with perfection. Without any fanfare, the spotlights were cued up with a heart-palpitating music selection to raise the audience’s senses. One by one, models sashayed down the runway in exquisite cashmere and silk in rich hues of plum, moss, navy, ginger, and forest green. Midway into the show, “Give My Love to London” by famed London rock and roller Marianne Faithfull filled the room. Vintage vibe all the way. What an exhilarating start to set the tone for our visit across the pond!

Photo by Abigail Ryan

The Jasper Conran 2015 Autumn/Winter collection was wearable art cut to drape the woman who wants to feel elegant yet comfortable—a vintage elegance of timeless tradition and craftsmanship. Simply put, his designs epitomized the essence of London. Conran, who studied at the Parsons School of Art and Design, is a UK native and a fashion icon in London and beyond. He was appointed chairman and creative director of the Conran Shop—a well-known retail experience founded in 1974 by his father, Sir Terence Conran, with stores in London, Paris, and several cities in Japan—so, he’s the real deal in fashion. Read on! As you delve through the pages of our annual Food and Fashion Issue, “Style Is for Everyone” by our assistant editor, Jordan Staggs, and other deliciously interesting stories await your discovery. Stay tuned for other articles and a showcase of the London Fashion Week Autumn/Winter 2015 collections in an upcoming issue of VIE later this year. To Life! —Lisa Marie

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The Village Boutique specializes in offering a large selection of unique clothing and accessories for women of all ages as well as providing an environment that has become a place to meet and visit with well as making new ones. Many locals and visitors alike rate The Village Boutique as a favorite due to the quality of the merchandise, service and ambience.

Find Us on Facebook VILLAGE BOUTIQUE 9375 U S Highway 98 West Sandestin, FL (In The Market Shops at Sandestin

ELLIOTT BOUTIQUE 203 Ruskin Place Seaside, FL (In Seaside’s Ruskin Place Art District)


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A SOUTHERNINSPIRED DINNER Fresh from Florida’s Gulf Coast to the Hallowed James Beard House in New York City By Lisa Burwell Photography by Gerald and Lisa Burwell

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Chef Gus Silivos (front right) and Chef Frank Taylor (back right) with sous chefs in the kitchen at the James Beard House

In David Kamp’s book The United States of Arugula, James Beard is described as a food pioneer, a brand, and “the face and belly of American gastronomy.” In addition to being a cookbook author and teacher, he had the first cooking show on television. In short, Beard was a huge influence on American culinary life. The James Beard Foundation was established in 1986 in his honor, with its headquarters in Beard’s Greenwich Village townhouse. Frequent dinners are hosted at the house to showcase the talents of select guest chefs, who work in the Beard kitchen. Volunteers from local culinary schools aid the chefs as they cook for Foundation members, industry professionals, and the chefs’ personal guests. Past chefs include such notables as Jacques Pépin, Daniel Boulud, Nobu Matsuhisa, Charlie Trotter, and Emeril Lagasse.

The house remains as it was when Beard lived there and his legacy can still be felt, especially since the Foundation uses the house as a center for the promotion of culinary artists, wine professionals, journalists, and cookbook authors. It’s hallowed ground for chefs, and it was an honor to watch five of Florida’s best chefs work in the same kitchen where Beard used to entertain and teach his love of food. The five-course meal this particular evening featured modern Southern cuisine using a bounty of ingredients from our beloved Gulf Coast. It was sponsored by

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“TO HAVE BEEN INVITED TO THE JAMES BEARD HOUSE FOR AN UNPRECEDENTED FOURTH YEAR IS A TREMENDOUS HONOR, AS IS HAVING THE OPPORTUNITY TO REPRESENT THE RICH HISTORY AND CULTURE OF THE PENSACOLA BAY AREA AND FLORIDA THROUGH CULINARY EXPLORATION.” Visit Pensacola and prepared by Pensacola Celebrity Chefs (drumroll, please): Dan Dunn of H2O at the Hilton Pensacola Beach Gulf Front; Irv Miller of Jackson’s Steakhouse in downtown Pensacola; Jim Shirley from the Fish House on Pensacola Bay; Gus Silivos of Nancy’s Haute Affairs; and Frank Taylor of Global Grill— and they did not disappoint! House-smoked bacon-wrapped oysters with sumac, seared Gulf snapper with pineapple-sage pesto, Pensacola Bay white shrimp scampi, salt-and-pepper Apalachicola scallops, and Baldwin County–raised grass-fed beef rib eyes with a Syrah reduction were among the dishes served. Dessert, prepared collaboratively by the five chefs, was the unforgettable Bushwacker Two Ways, featuring the signature beverage Bushwacker—a creamy, delicious rum drink made with cream of coconut, Kahlúa coffee liqueur, crème de cacao, half-and-half, and vanilla ice cream— paired with a tres leches cake that was topped off with toffee glass and coconut whip. “To have been invited to the James Beard House for an unprecedented fourth year is a tremendous honor, as is having the opportunity to represent the rich history and culture of the Pensacola Bay Area and Florida through culinary exploration,” Chef Silivos said. After such an array of delicious creations, it’s no surprise these culinary collaborators have been asked back to the James Beard House for a fifth year. Bravo! Each year the James Beard Foundation recognizes excellence in all the culinary fields with awards honoring the finest restaurants, chefs, wine professionals, cookbook authors, journalists, and other food professionals in the United States. For the past twenty-four years, the annual culinary awards, considered the “Oscars of the food world,” have been presented in New York City. In 2015, however, the Foundation will celebrate the awards’ twenty-fifth anniversary gala in Chicago. An event honoring the best in food media will be held in New York on a separate day.

Top: Chef Jim Shirley (right) working with the sous chefs in the Beard kitchen Bottom left: Photos of famous culinary icons line the stairwell to the upper floors. Bottom right: Chef Jim Shirley 28 | M A R C H /A P R I L 2 015

Chef Irv Miller preparing chargrilled Eastpoint wild clams with Casino butter and Benton’s bacon on the terrace V IE Z INE .C OM | 29










1. Brooke Parkhurst and husband, James Briscione, director of culinary development at the Institute of Culinary Education 2. and 6. Beautiful table settings and decor abound throughout the James Beard House 3. Brooke Fleming of Visit Pensacola with Joey Scarborough 4. Chef Irv Miller of Jackson’s Steakhouse 5. (Center photo) Chef Gus Silivos (right) working with the sous chefs in the Beard kitchen 7. Kay Baggett and Kristen Peterson with Carla Hall of The Chew on ABC 8. VIE’s editor-in-chief and publisher, Gerald and Lisa Burwell 9. Lisa Ekus with Bon Appétit, Y’all author, Virginia Willis

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Open to the public Tuesday through Saturday, 5:30 pm • Happy Hour 5:30 - 6:30 pm Opening for season March 2015 8 5 0 - 2 1 3 - 5 7 0 0 | C A L I Z A R E S T A U R A N T . C O M

food trucks

are on a roll By Colleen Sachs |


ood trucks have been around in one form or another for centuries. Today, they are the delivery method for street food, lunches at worksites, and ice cream. These self-contained mobile restaurants produce food to be eaten on the spot or taken away, and they come in all shapes and sizes. Some are little more than carts. Others are actual trucks that can be moved from one location to another, depending upon business and local regulations. Still others are stationary, tricked-out travel trailers connected to utility services.

answer to the hot dog stand of my dreams—Japadog. Its fleet of food trucks serves hot dogs influenced by Japanese cuisine. Terimayo, its signature dog, is topped with teriyaki, mayonnaise, and shredded seaweed. That hot dog is a world away from the classic German dog of my childhood and represents the fast-growing and ever-evolving food truck business.

As a child, I became a fan of the hot dog cart. We lived in Germany and would go into the nearby city on Saturdays, where lovely antiques and handcrafted goods were offered. But the biggest draws for me were a beautiful candy store that made the candy look like little jewels and the cart selling bratwurst. Fat sausages were served on mustard-smeared hard rolls that soaked up all the juicy goodness. That stand sold only one thing, and it was done to perfection.

The proliferation of food trucks is evidenced by their prevalence on television. The Cooking Channel’s Eat St. features the offerings of several food trucks in each episode. In most cases, the messier and more over the top the food, the better. The popularity of food trucks has even been the springboard for competition shows. The Great Food Truck Race and Food Truck Face Off on the Food Network have people competing for their own customized food trucks. And where movies mimic life, the 2014 film Chef is the story of a chef who, frustrated by the restrictions of working in traditional fine dining, finds redemption and happiness in a food truck.

Fast-forward forty years to Vancouver, British Colombia. I found the grown-up, modern-day

While food trucks can be found throughout Northwest Florida, the best-known food trucks

Photo by Romona Robbins

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Photo by Ashley Simmons

from Pensacola to Apalachicola are two groups of silver Airstream trailers. One, known as Airstream Row, is at the center of Seaside directly on Scenic Highway 30-A. The other, Al Fresco, is at the corner of Palafox and Main Streets in downtown Pensacola. The reasons for the popularity of food trucks are many. They are attributable to the proprietors as well as the consumers and even government regulation. In fact, regulation is often the deciding factor as to whether food trucks will be popular in a certain city. Austin, Texas, is known for having regulations that are friendly to movable food trucks, and the city has an abundance of them. In the Florida Panhandle, food truck regulations are just being developed in some areas. Pensacola wrote its regulations in conjunction with the opening of Al Fresco. 36 | M A R C H /A P R I L 2 015

Photo by Romona Robbins

Michael Carro, the landlord of Al Fresco, partnered closely with the city to make sure the regulations worked for everyone. He explains that the Airstream trailers must be tied down and connected to an underground infrastructure, and propane tanks are not permitted. They must also have an adjacent restaurant and in this case, it’s Shux Oyster Bar. Carro points out that the stationary trailers have benefits over movable trucks. “Traditional trucks have to dump tanks and refill propane constantly,” he says. “Here, they don’t.” A key factor in the exponential growth of food trucks is social media. Truck owners rely on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook to let people know where they can be found and what they are serving that day. Consumers rely on phone apps

Truck owners rely on Twitter, Photo by Romona Robbins

Instagram, and Facebook to let

such as Yelp and Urbanspoon to help decide which truck gets their business. From the standpoint of the truck owner, one of the most attractive aspects of opening a food truck is the cost of entry. Carro says it is possible to “get into the food truck world for a fraction of the cost of a brickand-mortar restaurant.� He estimates the cost at between $10,000 and $80,000, as opposed to the millions it can cost to build a traditional restaurant. He says the cost of operation is less, too; utilities and payroll are greatly reduced. The owners of Japadog had very little when they

people know where they can be found and what they are serving that day.

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of course, the most important thing about food trucks is the food.

Photo by Ashley Simmons

Photo by Cheryl Casey 38 | M A R C H /A P R I L 2 015

Photo by Romona Robbins

moved from Japan to Canada. They started small with one location and built their business, adding one truck at a time. Chefs also like the control they have with operating a food truck. Carro says that owners can change their menus on the fly. They can be more entrepreneurial, nimble, and flexible. “You can change your whole concept in about two days if your concept doesn’t work out,” he explains. In some cases, chefs at restaurants also use food trucks to make their food accessible to more people and to try out new products. Many truck owners also cater special events. Food trucks have been a way to grow a brand for some owners. Popular New York ice cream truck Big Gay Ice Cream found the truck to be a springboard to brick-and-mortar locations (in their case, in Los Angeles at the Upstairs Bar at the Ace Hotel and in Philadelphia). Japadog has set up shop in trucks in Los Angeles and at the Santa Monica Pier. L.A. Updike, owner of Gouda Stuff at Al Fresco, has been in the restaurant business for over twenty years. She prefers the truck to a larger location, saying, “It’s outside; I work with great people and have a great landlord and great customers.” That sentiment is echoed by owner Marcus Denes of Al Fresco’s Gunshot BBQ. He used to sell barbecue in a Gulf Breeze gas station but prefers the truck. “The location is great, and I get to see more people,” he says. Of course, the most important thing about the food trucks is the food. That is what drives people to them. Linda Sullivan of Destin says that she makes a special trip to Seaside just to eat at the Meltdown on 30A “because it’s unique.” The Meltdown on 30A, owned by Jim Shirley of the Bay and Great Southern Café, serves creative grilled cheese sandwiches, such as the Muenster Mushroom Melt (mushroom duxelles, caramelized onions, and Muenster and smoked provolone cheeses) and the Strawberry Goat Forever (goat cheese, strawberry preserves, and prosciutto). Grilled cheese is also a hit at Gouda Stuff, where the Hazy Goat was voted Best of the Coast. It features Humboldt Fog cheese, tomato jam, and a balsamic reduction. For high-quality Asian street food, you can’t beat Sóng at Seaside. Vietnamese pulled pork Photo by Colleen Sachs V IE Z INE .C OM | 39

sandwiches, spring rolls, and noodles are always packed with fresh flavor. The same goes for Z Taco at Al Fresco, where the ceviche is always bright and fresh. Gunshot BBQ is known for serving excellent smoked meats. That brings up another attraction of food trucks for consumers: since they are often found in groups, it is a natural dining option for a group of people. There is no need to enter into a big debate over what to eat because there is something for everyone. At Al Fresco you can opt for Asian or Mexican fare, sample barbecue or grilled cheese selections, or choose from the oyster bar’s menu. Seaside options include Asian, grilled cheese, barbecue, and holistic foods and juices from Raw and Juicy. And, of course, there is Wild Bill’s Beach Dogs, serving high-quality hot dogs. It is a food truck after my own heart.

Al Fresco food trucks: Gunshot BBQ, Fusion World, Gouda Stuff, Z Taco, and Shux Oyster Bar Seaside food trucks: Sóng, Frost Bites, Barefoot BBQ, the Meltdown on 30A, Wild Bill’s Beach Dogs, and Raw & Juicy

Photo by Ashley Simmons



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Snow Camera Action Sundance Film Festival 2015 By Dale Foster Photography courtesy of Sundance Institute

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Every January since 1985, independent filmmakers and film watchers have taken over the small resort ski town of Park City, Utah, which has held one of the largest and most prestigious film festivals in the world. It was thirty-one years ago (1981) that actor Robert Redford founded the Sundance Film Festival in his small mountain resort of Sundance. The festival now includes venues in three additional locations. “It has grown way beyond what I ever imagined,” Redford said.

The Sundance Film Festival is sponsored by the Sundance Institute, a nonprofit organization that provides an environment in which artists in film, theatre, and new media can create and thrive. The goal of the festival is to connect audience members to artists by igniting innovative ideas, discovering fresh and original voices, and building a community that is dedicated to independent storytelling. The festival is renowned for featuring the best independently produced dramatic movies, documentaries, and short films. Many of the films shown are not of your standard local theatre fare. While Sundance is a marketplace for landing theatrical distribution deals, it is also a showcase of edgy and often bizarre movies that are not necessarily made for mass commercial markets. This is art. Specifically, it is independent film art—with an emphasis on independence. Selection for entry into the festival is competitive. Out of the 12,166 films submitted for consideration this year, only 123 featurelength films and 60 short films were selected, representing more than thirty countries. Out of these, 106 were world premieres. While it is impossible to describe the full range of films shown at the festival, it is sufficient to say that the subject matters are wide ranging and overwhelming. Some of these films are not for the faint of heart. This is a forum that filmmakers can use to explore, branch out, and push the envelope—often testing the limits of our sensibilities. At their cores, these films take taboo, controversial, and sensitive subjects head on. Prime examples include Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief, which includes ex-Scientologists recounting their experiences within the church, and Censored Voices, which reveals surprising recorded conversations of Israeli soldiers after the 1967 Six-Day War. Filmmakers have something to say and generally say it in a candid and courageous manner. If we are open minded, these films can broaden our emotional and sensory horizons. Some of the films are fictionalized dramatic presentations based on real-life stories. Others are documentaries that are designed to educate viewers about the facts of a specific event or social issue. Just a few of the provocative subjects covered at this year’s festival were race, rape, homosexuality, religion, incest, sexual abuse, polygamy, extramarital affairs, human trafficking, personal identity, and death.

For me, documentaries are more compelling than feature films in this venue. The festival is known for its gritty and groundbreaking documentaries. For instance, What Happened, Miss Simone? is an intimate, frank portrayal of the turbulent life of jazz and blues singer Nina Simone. The biopic renders a captivating behind-the-scenes look into the achievements and tribulations of one of music’s most talented and contentious figures. The film draws heavily on interviews with Simone’s daughter, husband, and friends and is interlaced with archival footage of Simone herself. Simone’s story is at times tragic—from her career-altering involvement with the civil rights movement to her battle with a mental disorder—but the viewer is left with a real appreciation of her musical genius. How to Change the World documents the founding of Greenpeace and its environmental movements. Basically the brainchild of a group of self-proclaimed Canadian hippies, Greenpeace started from very modest beginnings and became a worldwide crusade. The film documents the earliest efforts of the group—first to stop the nuclear testing at Amchitka Island and then to take on Russian whalers in the Pacific Ocean. The movement did not exist without controversies both internally and externally, and the film does an admirable job of detailing them. Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead: The Story of the National Lampoon chronicles the rise of an empire centered on humor, from its beginnings as a monthly magazine to its expansion into radio, theater, records, and film. Largely due to the offbeat talents of writers Douglas Kenney and Henry Beard, National Lampoon magazine helped shape the irreverent comedy counterculture of the 1970s and 1980s. Through the use of rare and never-before-seen archival footage—as well as interviews with Chevy Chase, John Landis, P. J. O’Rourke, Matty Simmons, Harold Ramis, and others—the film presents a bizarre story of heavy-drinking, drug-taking, comedic geniuses. The group lost perhaps one of its most brilliant members in a bizarre circumstance, when Douglas Kenney was found dead at the bottom of a cliff in Hawaii.

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Williams suggested that it be made as a documentary and gave him money to start production. In an emotional introduction at the film’s premiere, Goldthwait said, “I hope I did my friend well,” referring to the late Williams, to whom the film is dedicated. This was the documentary’s first public showing—and the first time Crimmins had seen it as well. In a personal interview with Goldthwait and Crimmins, they described how the film got its title. As a survivor of child sexual abuse, Crimmins had to “fight through it, not go around it.” He stated, “I could have gone either way—become a child abuser myself or become a voice for survivors. I chose to be

Fresh Dressed was one of the more interesting documentaries that I saw in terms of both creativity and content. It chronicles the formation and proliferation of hip-hop urban fashion from the streets of South Bronx, New York, to “Main Street” America. Onscreen interviews with Pharrell Williams, Kanye West, Nas Jones, and Karl Kani give viewers quick lessons on fashion design and its connection to popular culture, particularly music. The bold efforts of early designers of this style draw similarities to the Certified Beach Bum apparel line that emerged on the Emerald Coast. 44 | M A R C H /A P R I L 2 015

The most intriguing film I saw was Call Me Lucky by award-winning director Bobcat Goldthwait. While Goldthwait is perhaps best known for his screechy-voiced character in the Police Academy series, his first documentary focuses on the life of his friend and colleague Barry Crimmins. Though famous as a stand-up comedian, comedy club owner, and political satirist, Crimmins was also one of the first children’s rights activists to help identify and fight against child pornography on the Internet. Originally, Goldthwait had wanted to create a narrative film, until his longtime friend Robin

As a survivor of child sexual abuse, Crimmins had to “fight through it, not go around it.” He stated, “I could have gone either way—become a child abuser myself or become a voice for survivors. I chose to be an advocate, so call me lucky.”

an advocate, so call me lucky.” Goldthwait added that the key message of this film is that “Barry is an example of how all of us can make a change.” The documentary is extremely well made, systematically revealing the many layers of Crimmins’s life and his view of the world. The film is at once funny and inspiring, with ample doses of Crimmins’s stand-up comedy and one-liners creatively interwoven with the horrific secret that Crimmins had kept for so many years. Crimmins’s message to survivors of child sexual abuse: “Tell someone, tell everyone, and then help others who are in your situation.” Not all of the films at Sundance contained heavy or controversial subject matter. Some told uplifting stories of survival, redemption, healing, inspiration, and perseverance. Examples included Strangerland (Nicole Kidman), A Walk in the Woods (Robert Redford and Nick Nolte), Dope (Shameik Moore), Dreamcatcher (a biopic of former prostitute Brenda Myers-Powell), and Meru (about mountain climbing on Mount Meru). Ewan McGregor generated a lot of buzz with his portrayal of Jesus in Last Days in the Desert. V IE Z INE .C OM | 45

Comedies and romantic dramas were also presented, including the premieres of Grandma (Lily Tomlin) and I’ll See You in My Dreams (Blythe Danner and Sam Elliott). The greatly anticipated comedy The D Train was one of the most popular feature films of the festival, and it did not disappoint. With spot-on casting ( Jack Black, James Marsden, and Jeffrey Tambor) and an outrageously humorous script, this adult comedy takes high school reunions to a new extreme. Horror flicks were well represented with director J.M. Cravioto’s plot-twisting, female-revenge genre debut of Reversal. Tina Ivlev plays a convincing heroine, while Richard Tyson from Mobile, Alabama, costars as a hard-to-kill psychopath. Giving a nod to the application of new technologies, the festival exhibited several virtual reality (VR) films in its New Frontiers category. Google shared its Cardboard phone holder, which allows users to view VR films on their smartphones while providing a true VR 3D experience. The festival is also a competition that offers a variety of awards. The U.S. Grand Jury Prize for best documentary went to The Wolfpack (directed by Crystal Moselle), an unusual story about six teenage brothers who spent their entire lives locked away from society in 46 | M A R C H /A P R I L 2 015

a Manhattan housing project. Winner of both the U.S. Grand Jury Prize for best dramatic film and the Audience Award for best dramatic film was Me and Earl and the Dying Girl (directed by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon), which was about high school buds who befriend a classmate with leukemia. One of the highlights of this year’s event was a panel discussion by Redford and director George Lucas. They discussed their experiences in independent filmmaking and what it means to be an independent filmmaker. Redford talked about how the use of stories and characters in documentaries has grown and how the Sundance Film Festival keeps the idea of diversity in filmmaking alive. Lucas discussed making films outside of Hollywood both physically and artistically. He detailed his successes and failures while working as an independent filmmaker and how being innovative helped his movies become successful.

The D Train was one of the most popular feature films of the festival. With spot-on casting and an outrageously humorous script, this adult comedy takes high school reunions to a new extreme. V IE Z INE .C OM | 47

Love your Style Photo by Dale Foster

During festival week, the snow-lined streets of Park City take on a carnival-like atmosphere that is filled with moviegoers, filmmakers, and movie stars. Corporate sponsors take up temporary residence in many of the storefronts along Main Street. This is where the best premiere parties, invitation-only events, and stargazing take place. Attendees are treated to musical concerts, local foods, interviews with directors and cast members, and behind-the-scenes looks at moviemaking. A few A-list actors who were spotted around town included Nicole Kidman, James Franco, Keanu Reeves, Winona Ryder, Molly Shannon, Ethan Hawke, Kristen Wiig, and Ewan McGregor. The Sundance Film Festival attracts an eclectic and adventurous group of people from all over the world. I met people from every part of the United States, as well as Mexico, Canada, China, and several European countries. These are people who really love movies either as serious professionals or as appreciative viewers of motion picture art. These are people who actually read the credits of films. Sundance films are movies that people do not expect but talk about after they see them. They are powerful and at times profound. They are visceral in the sense that some of them make us uneasy and squirm in our seats. We may not leave the theatre feeling cheerful or entertained, but we will feel moved. Our perceptions may change about a particular social issue or about life in general. These films are examples of how visual media can impact our lives and how an artist with a camera can change the world. Attending a weeklong film festival is physically and emotionally exhausting. The Sundance Film Festival challenges you, excites you, makes you feel good, and, at times, breaks your heart and makes you wonder about the sanity of the human race. In other words, given the opportunity, going to the film festival is an opportunity that should not be missed.

About the Author


Located across from Destin Commons & next to Publix

Dale Foster is an award-winning playwright who studied screenwriting at Harvard University Summer School. He has produced television programs for Alabama Public Television and local cable news stations. He founded the Bay Area Screenwriters Group in Mobile, Alabama, and appeared in a credited role for Pamela Anderson’s first feature film. He currently lives in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida.



THE APPLICATION Apply to be a runway model for South Walton Fashion Week, my friends and coworkers say. It’ll be fun, they say. The chance to win money, a photo shoot from Sheila Goode Photography, and a feature article in VIE magazine doesn’t sound so bad. Nor does the chance to interview with Click Models of Atlanta! I stare at the online application. It calls for a head shot and a full-body shot, in addition to measurements and other information that, in any other circumstances, would be rude to ask of a woman. But the judges aren’t looking for people; they’re looking for models. And I can be one of those models. Right? I like to wear cute clothes and high heels. I love fashion and style and The Devil Wears Prada. I’ve participated in a couple of amateur runway shows and even a beauty pageant once. I can do this, and it will be fun.

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But honestly, I’m not exactly your typical tall-and-skinny model girl. I am decidedly average—I think. Who really knows? Well, the measurements aren’t mandatory in this online form. We can get those later. Do people just know that stuff off the top of their heads? What if my “vital statistics” change between now and next week? What if I eat too much before the casting call? What if I don’t eat enough and I pass out? If I’m five feet five and the height requirement is five feet six, will they notice? I might be five six. Now, let’s just find the right photos to send in—will it matter if they’re from Facebook? I don’t have time to get professional shots taken. It’ll probably be okay. Hmm, I have that cute one from my last trip.

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h, but I’m wearing a hat and a rain jacket in this one. Will they care if I’m wearing a hat? Better keep looking. Here’s one that could work for a head shot. Oh, wow, I never noticed how wide my eyes are in this picture. I look crazy. Next. Yikes, I look chubby there. Better delete this one from existence forever. Photo from the staff section of my company’s website. Hmm. It’s professional. I like the smile. But does it show off my personality? Am I too squinty from the sun? Ugh. Oh, this one is sort of a “modeling” photo. Cute outfit, striking a pose. But is it too posed? Are those pants too loose? Are sunglasses a problem? I love this one! But it doesn’t show the bottom half of my legs. Do I think they’ll notice? Yes. Fine— Pass. Jeez, I have approximately zero decent photos of myself. Whatever happened to the days of getting nice photos made every year? Like those vintage black-and-white ones of girls all done up with their hair curled and wearing pretty dresses. Not the Olan Mills ones. The real ones. The good stuff, like Audrey Hepburn’s photos. Why can’t I have photos like Audrey Hepburn?! Okay, focus. Better just go with the nice head shot and the posed picture. Application sent. I feel like a tremendous weight has been lifted from my shoulders simply because now it’s out of my hands. I think I need some chocolate.


THE CASTING CALL I’m just checking my e-mail, not a care in the world except for wondering just how much spam mail I can rack up if I don’t check it for a week (hint: it’s a lot), when I notice the subject line: SWFW 2014 Casting Call Invitation September 10th or 11th. Well, this is so unexpected. Should I start polishing up my golden high-heel Top Model trophy now, or wait until— Okay, I’d better read the e-mail first, I guess.

“Please wear skinny jeans and a black tank top or V-neck T-shirt.” Okay, I can do that. “Bring heels to walk in.” Yes, check. But wait, do I have a black tank top that looks alright? Does it matter if it says something on it? Somehow I’m not sure if the SWFW judges will get the “Slytherwin” Harry Potter reference. Better go with a solid one. “Please have hair pulled back or out of your face.” Okay. I can tame the mane for this. But, oh, what about my pointy Yoda ears that seem to stick out about a foot from my head? Well, those give me personality, right? Like that girl Anne from America’s Next Top Model. Dude, she won everything that season. You’ve got this. “Please wear little to no makeup.” Little to no makeup? In public? Where people are going to be filming me? My Nana would have a fit. I’m going with the “little” option on this one. I show up and find the other potential models sitting behind a screen, waiting to be called out one by one to walk for the organizers and judges of SWFW. They’re all predictably beautiful and amazingly, I don’t feel too out of place among them as I take a seat to wait. I tuck my head shot carefully under my chair—don’t want anyone to see that—and sit back quietly, listening as each girl (there are a couple of guys, too) is called forth to literally strut her stuff. I was one of the last to arrive, so I wait for quite a while. The room begins to empty and I’m still waiting. My feet are sweating. Will that affect my walk? No, but what might is the fact that my shoes—which I love dearly and spent quite some time debating on whether or not to wear—are sort of falling apart. The heel on one of them is starting to disconnect from the rest of it. Great. Why didn’t I notice that before? My name is called, and I stand too quickly, heading to the judges’ table to hand off my information. Show your personality, I remind myself. Smile, talk to them. Oh no, did I laugh way too loud just then? Oh, well… The walking part is easier. I’m confident in my runway gait, if not in my shoes’ ability to remain intact. Walk down and back. Shoulders back, eyes forward, cross one foot over the other with each step. I’ve seen fashion shows. I can do this. Photo by Chip Kennedy

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THE WALKING PART IS EASIER. I’M CONFIDENT IN MY RUNWAY GAIT— WALK DOWN AND BACK. SHOULDERS BACK, EYES FORWARD, CROSS ONE FOOT OVER THE OTHER WITH EACH STEP. I’VE SEEN FASHION SHOWS. I CAN DO THIS. I do it, but I feel like I’m practically sprinting. The judges are quiet and then kindly ask me to go once again, more slowly. I laugh nervously and oblige. “Girl, that heel is about to break!” one of them calls, and I laugh again as I finish my walk, feeling a blush spread across my cheeks. “I know. They’ve just about had it,” I say, shaking my head sadly as I approach the table again. Despite the footwear problem, I feel I did well. The panel of impeccable, fashionable women before me seems to think so, too. They thank me and then it’s on to the next girl. I guess we’ll see what happens next!



I suppose you can guess what happens next, considering I’m writing this diary as a catalogue of my modeling experience. I made the cut! It’s sort of a surreal feeling. The idea that “Wow, I am really going to do this. Someone has chosen me, out of hundreds of beautiful girls, to go on stage and showcase their art.” That’s what fashion is to many people, especially those who create it. It’s artistic expression that you can wear day in and day out to show people how you’re feeling or what you like. What you’re wearing can say a lot or very little, depending on what you want to convey to those who see you in it. That is something I’ve always loved about fashion: a piece of clothing can become just about anything once the personal style of the wearer is added to it. But you soon learn that being a model is not about personal style. It’s about the style and the artistic vision of the designer. It’s your job to be the canvas, to communicate what they want to say to their audience—which brings me to the next, and possibly the most terrifying, moment of my modeling “career.” V IE Z INE .C OM | 53


“FITTING” IN For each of the three shows I’m cast in for SWFW, there are fittings. It’s the chance to meet with the designer or stylist you’re working for and try on the things they want to send down the runway. For me, it feels like round two of the casting call. What if they don’t like me? What if I can’t wear what they’ve chosen for me? What if I get “fired,” even though I haven’t actually been “hired”? These are just a few of the things buzzing through my head as I drive to my first fitting at Tommy Bahama. But it goes really well. I try on several outfits and the stylist is overjoyed with the fit, even claiming I am “the perfect customer” for their store. That’s one difference between “high fashion” runway modeling and modeling for boutiques. I would never be the perfect canvas for haute couture, but for a normal boutique selling clothes to normal women, I at least fit in. That’s a confidence booster, and I leave feeling good about the two looks we’ve chosen for me to wear down the runway.

Confidence restored but with the knowledge that I still need a tan and maybe a diet now firmly planted in my mind, I leave the store wondering—with good humor—what I’ve gotten myself into.


DON’T FEED THE MODELS I’m sure I’m one of many women who would say they have never thought of themselves as “skinny.” In a society where looks and body image hold just as much sway as knowledge and intellect, everyone is subjected to preconceived ideals of what looks good. While it may be upsetting that we behave in such a way, the truth is that your appearance is your first impression, and that’s all it takes to garner a subconscious reaction from someone you meet. Positive or negative, that reaction can dictate how someone treats you. It’s terrifying. It’s also what has made the fashion industry kajillions of dollars over the centuries. On a daily basis, you go to work, to the store, to the gym. You might wonder what people think of you, but that thought is probably fleeting. The chance that you’ll see that person again is small, so who cares, as long as you’re happy—right? But I’m here to say that when you become a model, the everyday worry about how you look and impress others is heightened tenfold.

The next fitting takes much of that confidence and bulldozes it in a matter of seconds. I blink at the tiny pieces of fabric held out to me and take them. My cheeks are probably pale as I try to put on a brave face for the lovely ladies at La Vie Est Belle. Okay, I’ll try it on! South Walton is a beach community, so I knew there was a possibility that this would happen. But this is the Photo by Chip Kennedy tiniest bikini I’ve ever touched, let alone worn. The patterned miniskirt over it helps some, but when I emerge from the dressing room, I’m sure my absolute terror is showing through my attempt to appear optimistic about the designers’ review.

Imagine knowing that you’re going to be walking down a brightly lit stage in front of hundreds of people. Now imagine you’ll be wearing clothing that someone else created—a labor of love, a passion project—that they want to showcase as something great. Imagine you are a book and everyone in the bookstore is breaking the rules—judging you exclusively by your cover.

They’re pretty polite about pointing out that the outfit just isn’t working, and I feel relieved. I need a tan. I could stand to do a few crunches or maybe a thousand. I’m immediately smiling again when they decide to put a sheer, embroidered sari over the bikini. The sari is still a little bit revealing but I can deal with that as long as I don’t feel like I’m “letting it all hang out.” The dress is gorgeous and it’s my favorite color. A win-win as far as I’m concerned.

Scared yet?

I’m covered in gorgeous Tahitian pearls, the shop’s specialty. Necklaces, bracelets, earrings—owner Wendy Mignot and her stylists circle around me like birds of prey as they layer, tie, and readjust the shimmering beads. The most amazing silver-and-gold Jimmy Choo stilettos complete my ensemble, and suddenly I’m feeling like a glamorous socialite on vacation in St. Barths. Where is that awkward, self-conscious girl from a few moments ago? It truly is amazing the power that a good outfit can have on the person wearing it. 54 | M A R C H /A P R I L 2 015

I’m not the type of person who is constantly checking the scales. I exercise because it’s important and it makes me feel better, both physically and emotionally— and also because I like to eat. There, I said it. I love food. It might be the love of my life right now, second only to my dog, and he doesn’t care if I eat half a pizza by myself on a Saturday night, as long as he gets a piece of pepperoni. The way I see it, denying myself the simple pleasure of eating something I like is not worth it. Moderation is the key, and continues to be even while going through pre-SWFW dieting, just on a stricter scale. Apples and peanut butter have become my best friends, but I won’t lie and say I haven’t had a slice or two of nice, cheesy pizza as well. The effort to be more diet-conscious seems to have paid off, as people have started asking me if I’ve lost weight. There’s a weird

feeling that comes with hearing that; even when it’s a compliment, it makes you wonder things. Was I fat before? It’s ridiculous, but in our world, even nice words about our looks can spark paranoia and s uspicion in our overly conditioned brains. I’ll be honest; it still won’t stop me from eating pizza.


THE SPRAY TAN You won’t turn orange. You won’t turn orange. You. Will. Not. Turn. Orange. But what if I do I turn orange?


Nervous and still thinking about turning right around and running, I step into the booth where the intimidating machine stands. It looks like a shower stall, but it’s open on two sides. It could be a time machine, for all I know. Or the machine they used to turn scrawny little Steve Rogers into perfect human specimen Captain America. (Yes, I am a huge nerd.) Well, that wouldn’t be so bad, would it? The attendant enters the setting I request—medium— because, as she says, “I don’t want you to get super dark and freak out tomorrow.” She shows me how to turn it on when I’m ready and leaves me to it. I step into the machine, squinting because I’m afraid as soon as I press the button I’m going to be blinded with tanning spray. Probably the color of a carrot. Nothing happens. What? I try to press it again and nada. Goose bumps spread across my skin as I step back out of the machine and frown at the controls, then give up and wrap a towel around myself, stepping timidly out of the booth to go and get help. Apparently I just wasn’t pressing the button hard enough. Figures. When the spray starts, moving like a carwash from top to bottom and back up, I stand perfectly still. It’s cold. I turn when the machine tells me to. It’s pretty smart for a glorified shower stall… I do not develop any new six-pack abs, nor am I transported back in time (thankfully, considering my state of undress). In fact, I don’t notice anything at all. Patting myself off carefully, I get dressed and leave

Photo by Sheila Goode V IE Z INE .C OM | 55

the booth. I’m not the color of an Oompa Loompa, which is good. I seem to be just as ivory-skinned as ever. Until the next morning, when I notice a nice, naturallooking glow across my skin. The point here? I didn’t turn orange! And I’m not afraid of the spray tanner anymore. Important life lessons, folks.





Nobody tells you how much of a model’s time is spent waiting: waiting to get makeup done, waiting to get hair done, and waiting for outfits to show up. It’s boring and nerve-racking at the same time because you’ve got nothing to do, and you know you need to be in a certain place at a certain time, so you know you shouldn’t wander off. My best advice is to go with the flow and have a good attitude about it all. The waiting periods are a good time to make new friends, have a snack, catch up on e-mails, or, for me, do some writing!

WORTH THE WAIT The music is pumping in the theatre at Grand Boulevard Town Center at Sandestin. I’m backstage with a bustling crowd of models, designers, stylists, and hair and makeup teams from Vivo Spa Salon and MAC Cosmetics. Needless to say, there’s a lot going on, but it’s exciting! As we all get dressed and ready for our big runway debuts, I can’t help but feel privileged to have gotten to experience SWFW from this perspective. Seeing the incredible amounts of hard work and creativity poured into the event by every single person involved is inspiring. Fashion is a big part of life for many people, but to be able to see the whole process of putting on a professional runway show like SWFW (let alone three nights of them!) from top to bottom? Awe-inspiring.

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The teams from the Cultural Arts Alliance of Walton County, Monark Events, and Grand Boulevard really outdid themselves. The energy is palpable backstage as we watch the television set up there. The camera is trained on the runway so we can see the progress of our fellow models and know when it’s our cue to go on. I step up to the plate for my first walk, wearing a cute and comfortable outfit for Coco’s by M. Cline. Please don’t fall. Please don’t make any stupid faces. Please just have fun.

Photo by Sheila Goode

And you know what? I do. That first walk to the end of the runway is a little terrifying, but the crowd is having fun and I can sense it, even though I’m looking straight ahead. I pause in front of the judges, put on my best “Blue Steel” model face (just kidding), and then, before I know it, I’m walking back to the other end and offstage. My heart is racing and my legs are shaking a little as I descend the steps in the back again, but I’m grinning ear to ear. I’m ready to go again. And it was definitely worth the wait.

Being a model isn’t all fun and games. It’s a commitment of time and energy. It’s work—and I’m not even trying to make a career of it. But even if you just want to try it for fun like me, it’s an excellent chance to meet some amazing people and to be inspired by the creative, energetic world of fashion, both on the runway and behind the scenes! A big congratulations to Maleena Pruitt, the 2014 SWFW Model Competition winner, and to Romey Roe, 2014 Emerging Designer Competition winner. You guys both rocked it, as did everyone else! If you’re interested in becoming a model for South Walton Fashion Week 2015, be sure to visit in the months leading up to the event to find out when you can apply and audition. See you on the runway. Ciao!

Vineyard Vines • Freepeople • Eileen Fisher Ella Moss • Splendid • 7 for all Mankind • Southern Marsh Southern Tide • Southern Point • Robert Graham • Peter Millar Southern Proper and more!

Shops of Destiny 36236 Emerald Coast Parkway Suite B, Destin Florida 32541









MA RC H 2 7 - 2 8 PURSES WITH A PURPOSE benefiting Shelter House

A PRIL 1 1 DEATH BY CHOCOLATE benefiting Rotary Club of South Walton County

A PRIL 2 3 - 2 6 SOUTH WALTON BEACHES WINE & FOOD FESTIVAL benefiting Destin Charity Wine Auction Foundation


MAY 8 - 1 0 ARTSQUEST FINE ARTS & MUSIC FESTIVAL benefiting The Cultural Arts Alliance of Walton County

MAY 2 8 - J U LY 3 0, 8 P M THEATRE THURSDAYS presented by Emerald Coast Theatre Company

JUNE 27 BALLET AT TWILIGHT presented by Northwest Florida Ballet

OCTOBER 5 - 11 SOUTH WALTON FASHION WEEK benefiting The Cultural Arts Alliance of Walton County

OCTOBER 24* BEST OF THE EMERALD COAST benefiting Junior League of the Emerald Coast

O C T O B E R 2 9 - NO VEM BER 1 1* COTTAGES FOR KIDS benefiting Children’s Volunteer Health Network




N O V E MB E R 24 - D ECEM BER 31 FESTIVAL OF TREES benefiting more than a dozen local charities

*Tentative dates; subject to change.

G R A N D B O U L E VA R D . C O M


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hen I first visited the Florida Panhandle approximately eight years ago, I was stunned by the beauty of the beaches, the charm of the local communities, and the friendliness of the people. I have since bought, enjoyed, and sold my first house in the area, and I am currently in the process of building a new home in Rosemary Beach. I have been amazed by the changes that have occurred over this short period of time, as well as the number of new activities that have developed along Scenic Highway 30-A. The volume of cultural events, in particular, is truly astounding for such a small area. South Walton Fashion Week (SWFW) is a prime example; its seamless union of art, fashion, music, and theatre provides a unique experience. I thoroughly enjoyed the first SWFW in 2013, but overwhelming interest in the community transformed the scale of the 2014 event to include a longer runway, larger tents, VIP seating, the Style Salon, and the red carpet. The energy and buzz around SWFW 2014 was fantastic, and the runway shows provided a great “girls’ night out” opportunity to take in the latest fashion trends in a serene beach setting— the Grand Boulevard Town Center in the community of Sandestin. Celebrity guests at SWFW 2014 included runway host and model competition judge Yoanna House, who won cycle two of America’s Next Top Model; SWFW 2013 featured designer Mychael Knight, who served as a judge for the emerging designer competition; designer competition judge Jin Seo of 51INC; and America’s Next Top Model cycle nineteen winner, Laura James, who served as a model coach and competition judge. VIE publisher Lisa Burwell joined the panel of emerging designer competition judges while art director Tracey Thomas also served as a model competition judge. Over the past twenty years, the Cultural Arts Alliance (CAA) of Walton County has produced many small fashion events in the area, but nothing as ambitious as SWFW, which truly showcases the creative art forms of fashion and design. Speaking of the vision behind the event, Rebecca Sullivan Balkom, marketing and development director for the CAA, is understandably proud. “We can produce an event that excites the

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community and stimulates the local economy while supporting young designers, establishing the careers of up-and-coming models, and ultimately solidifying South Walton as a destination for cultural excellence,” she says. The primary vision of the CAA is to make Walton County a creative place for people to live, work, and visit. In teaming with Hillary Fosdyck and Briane O’Dell of Monark Events and engaging the support of local partners and the community, the CAA has fulfilled that vision in unique and very exciting ways. “In year two, South Walton Fashion Week had close to forty runway shows and almost a hundred models,” says Briane. “Models and designers traveled from Boston, New York, Atlanta, Birmingham, Denver, New Orleans, and Nashville to compete. We also had double the attendance of 2013 and added a third night of runway shows. There is huge potential for the event and we hope it continues to draw national attention in the fashion scene.” South Walton Fashion Week photographer, judge for the model competition, and seventeen-year community resident Sheila Goode explained that the SWFW committee set to work almost immediately following the conclusion of the 2013 shows to expand the event significantly and accommodate the interest that was generated in the community. As a longtime resident, she takes particular pride in the fact that the CAA has helped make South Walton a cultural epicenter on the Gulf Coast. “The event is a great opportunity for local designers and models to showcase their talents close to home, and it is a wonderful opportunity for merchandisers to present new fashion trends, many of which can also be found in local shops,” Goode says. “It provides exposure to local culture for residents and visitors alike without having to leave the community, which is rare for a region of this size.” Yvette Nation—who is a MAC Cosmetics makeup artist, a model competition judge, and a director on the board of the CAA—has been involved with SWFW for the last two years. She sums up the vision for the event very succinctly: “The event is foremost about enriching lives through cultural activities in South Walton.” The winning designer and model for SWFW 2014 were Romey Roe and Maleena Pruitt, respectively.


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Romey’s love of fashion started at an early age, he says, and came about “almost as if it was passed down to me through the generations, beginning with my grandmother making clothes for my mother, and then my mother working in a clothing factory for over seven years.” Speaking with him, it is immediately obvious that his genesis as a designer has much to do with the people who are closest to him, and that love comes across in his passion for fashion and design. “Design is something I found that I was good at, and it gave me a true purpose and strength that I found empowering.” Romey believes that fashion can provide that same experience to others; he feels that his designs are able to inspire confidence in a woman who, in turn, can inspire those around her. Romey, who is represented by Kennedy Management in New Orleans, has been designing for two years, and last October was his first time at SWFW. “It was the best experience I have had at any event,” he says. “From the moment that I entered, I was welcomed with such open arms, it was all quite amazing.” On winning the SWFW Emerging Designer Competition, Romey remarks, “Knowing my vision was understood was truly the highest I’ve ever been since I started this journey. I definitely want the event to grow and flourish so that other young designers can be given an amazing platform on which to be seen.” Since I had Romey’s full attention, I took the opportunity to seek out some fashion advice and perspective—such as, what are the three articles of attire that a woman can’t live without? He responded without hesitation, “For a woman, a fabulous cocktail dress, a ball gown, of course, and a great blouse to dress up or down are key pieces. For my own wardrobe, foremost is a blazer. It is the single most important piece of clothing in my closet. You can dress it up or down; it is always the perfect accessory.” And when I asked what he thinks the future holds for fashion trends: “I personally think the future holds a lot more day-tonight wear—working women’s clothing that can easily transform to an evening out.” He ended with, “But there’s only so much talking one can do; I myself am not a very good talker. You just have to put it all on the runway and let the clothes speak for themselves.” After such eloquent responses to my questions, I hardly believe his statement, but it is true that his designs speak volumes, and we are all now watching closely to see what the future will bring from Romey Roe.

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“I ENJOYED WALKING FOR ALL OF THE DESIGNERS, ESPECIALLY MYCHAEL KNIGHT AND ROMEY ROE, BUT I WAS REALLY JUST HAPPY THAT I HAD SO MUCH FUN WITH THE EVENT.” Not surprisingly, SWFW was also a great event for the model competition winner, Maleena Pruitt. Maleena had modeled locally before, and when she heard from Yvette Nation that SWFW was looking for models, she was excited about the opportunity. “I did not really feel very nervous before the show because everyone was so gracious, and I loved the energy both before and after the show,” Maleena says. Yvette was equally complimentary of the statuesque beauty, saying, “Maleena is the whole package; she is wonderful to work with, and I think her beauty and grace will take her very far.” Maleena had also modeled in a variety of other fashion shows in cities such as Mobile and Birmingham, Alabama, while she was still in school. SWFW was a great way to participate in fashion modeling while staying local. When asked about her favorite shows, Maleena said, “I enjoyed walking for all of the designers, especially Mychael Knight and Romey Roe, but I was really just happy that I had so much fun with the event.” Clearly, as the winning model, she projected that enthusiasm and energy to all in attendance. Photo by Chip Kennedy

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MALEENA PROVIDED THE IDEAL COMPLEMENT TO ROMEY’S VISION, WHILE JEWELRY BY ARRIAGA’S PEARLS GONE WILD COMPLETED EACH LOOK. A very successful SWFW finished with Romey Roe and Maleena Pruitt in a recap photo shoot in Alys Beach, Florida, on a sunny January afternoon. The setting could not have been more perfect for showcasing the gorgeous pieces from Romey’s line (I am in love with the red gown!), and Maleena provided the ideal complement to Romey’s vision, while jewelry by Arriaga’s Pearls Gone Wild completed each look. Maleena’s hair was done by Heather Martinez and Holly Holland of Vivo Spa Salon in Rosemary Beach, and her makeup was by Yvette Nation and Christina Engman of MAC Cosmetics at Dillard’s Pier Park in Panama City Beach. Sheila Goode captured all of it with her expert eye and lens. Special thanks goes out to architect Jeff Dungan of Dungan-Nequette Architects, who designed the beautiful Alys Beach home that served as the backdrop for the shoot. Work has already begun for SWFW 2015, and its continued success is setting a benchmark for the local fashion scene. I have already booked my flights, and I look forward to seeing what new fashion “gems” are discovered in South Walton!


Blue Mountain Gallery

21 Blue Gulf Drive. Scenic Hwy. 30A Open Mon-Sat 10AM-5PM 850.267.2022 | |

Pearls before Wine

a culinary roadshow highlights the iconic—and imperiled—apalachicola oyster By T.S. Strickland • Photography by Steven Gray

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Over the last decade and a half, they have served nearly 70,000 guests in farm fields and orchards, on beaches and mountaintops, and in barns and greenhouses from coast to coast and in nine different countries. On a brisk, sunny afternoon in January, Jim Denevan stood beside a fifty-foot mound of shells, meditatively sucking an oyster. Just a moment before, he had been trying to explain why he had devoted the prior sixteen years of his life to the culinary roadshow known as Outstanding in the Field and what this pursuit had to do with the plight of oystermen like Tommy Ward of Apalachicola, Florida, whose mound of shells was shading Denevan from the midday sun. Before he could articulate his thoughts, Denevan was derailed by a server bearing a platter of oysters baked on the half shell with collard greens, cornbread crumble, and andouille cream. He slurped one down and grunted approvingly before tossing the shell onto the mound. Standing there in a white cowboy hat and dark aviator glasses, Denevan looked like a slightly taller and slightly stoned version of Bruce Willis. It was a fitting image for a man who has played so many roles in life.

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Denevan—a hometown surfing legend in his native Santa Cruz—left the States to model in Milan in the 1980s before returning and becoming a chef. By the ’90s, he felt stifled in the kitchen and took to scrawling hieroglyphics in the California sand—think geometric compositions that were so large they had to be photographed from an airplane and meticulous enough to inspire extraterrestrial speculation. Even this iconoclastic pursuit wasn’t enough for Denevan, though, and by the end of the decade, while still working as a chef, he began hatching a new idea.

Connections Denevan grew up picking fruit in his older brother’s organic orchard in California. Munching apples and pears in the redwoods helped him appreciate how place—as much as taste, texture, or smell—could affect the experience of eating. In the 1990s, as Denevan was growing increasingly restless, the farm-to-table movement was gaining momentum, and he was attuned to the changing climate. “People were starting to have the names of farms on menus,” Denevan said. “Farmers’ gardens were starting to be more popular. So there was this sort of growing interest, and I thought to myself, ‘Well, I want to be part of this

changing culture of people just wanting to be closer to where their food is from and know about it and know the people who are behind it.’” But tweaking menus wasn’t going to be enough for Denevan. He wanted to deconstruct the entire notion of the restaurant, taking chefs—and patrons—directly to the sources of their food. At the time, this was considered radical. “It was an unheard-of concept,” Denevan said. Time has proved its appeal, though. Today, Denevan and his crew travel the countryside, staging scores of elaborate communal feasts each year. Over the last decade and a half, they have served nearly seventy thousand guests in farm fields and orchards, on beaches and mountaintops, and in barns and greenhouses from coast to coast and in nine different countries. At each location, they invite regional chefs to prepare dishes made with local food—often sourced from the very farm where the table is set—and local producers to share their stories. Diners sit together at a long table arranged with the same obsessive attention to detail with which Denevan etches his giant sand drawings. The whole performance, he said, is orchestrated to inspire connections, bringing people closer to each other, their food, those who produce it, and the environment that sustains it. As a chef, Denevan said this model inspires greater passion and creativity, which leads to better food. But it’s more than that. “It goes beyond the good food and the good wine,” he explained. “It brings connection to where people live and spend their days. It’s not so much a philosophical point, but people can see it right in front of them. It brings you closer to nature—food is nature, and if we understand it, we understand ourselves and our communities and maybe care a little bit more.”

A Community and an Icon in Peril While Denevan rhapsodized about food and interconnectedness, the sun inched its way toward the horizon over Saint Vincent Sound, and guests arrived in droves for the Outstanding in the Field dinner event. By four in the afternoon, about 150 people were sipping beer from Pensacola Bay Brewery, sampling hors d’oeuvres, and milling about the farm, oyster shells clattering and crunching underfoot. On this particular evening, Denevan had brought his culinary caravan to 13 Mile Oyster Farm, where Pensacola chef Irv Miller of Jackson’s Steakhouse prepared a gourmet feast of Gulf Coast proportions. The menu included beer-battered scamp with creamy yellow grits and tartar sauce; boiled shrimp with creamer potatoes and sweet corn; slow-roasted pork belly with fried oysters; cane-pickled mustard seed “caviar” glaze and “gumbo greens”; and bourbon and honey pecan squares with ganache, caramel sauce, and homemade marshmallow brûlée with cinnamon graham crackers. The main event, though, was the oyster—nude, pit-roasted, baked, fried—invariably delicious. If the menu sounds intriguing, the story behind it is equally compelling. Left: Jim Denevan, founder of Outstanding in the Field Right: The table is set at 13 Mile Seafood in Apalachicola, Florida. V IE Z INE .C OM | 75

The Ward farm is located about 13 miles outside Apalachicola— a picturesque town of 2,200 perched on the knuckle of Florida’s panhandle.

Patrons enjoy a dinner fresh from the source at 13 Mile Seafood.

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The Ward farm is located about thirteen miles outside Apalachicola, a picturesque town with a population of 2,200 perched on the knuckle of Florida’s panhandle. The settlement, located halfway between Panama City and Tallahassee, is a tranquil, friendly place steeped in maritime tradition and one of the few remaining relics of Old Florida. For well over a century, the townspeople have hauled their living from the sea. Apalachicola Bay, sheltered from the Gulf of Mexico by a series of barrier islands, is one of the healthiest and most productive in the nation. On any given day, one can take a stroll along the waterfront and watch fishermen hauling their catches of grouper, flounder, or shrimp. The lifeblood of the town, though, is the same thing that drew so many to the Ward farm on a cool, January day. Apalachicola oysters have long been revered as among the very best—savored with a dollop of horseradish or a spritz of hot sauce in restaurants from Chicago to New Orleans. Historically, the town has produced about 10 percent of the oysters consumed in the United States and 90 percent of those consumed in Florida. However, increasingly, they are in danger of becoming just a memory. That doesn’t sit well with Miller, the chef, who has spent the last three decades in Gulf Coast kitchens and developed a deep love for the briny bivalves. “The oyster is the iconic, emblematic food of the Panhandle,” he said. “It’s just so important to make sure it doesn’t go away.” Miller first became aware of the oysters’ plight a couple years ago, while doing preliminary research for a forthcoming book about Northwest Florida food culture. Determined to learn more, he began making periodic trips to Apalachicola, networking with oystermen and learning about the challenges facing the fishery. He said the Outstanding in the Field event was, for him, primarily an opportunity to raise awareness. “Does everybody care? Probably not,” he admitted. “But there are some people who do, and we want to foster that.”

A Complex Crisis Despite Miller’s passion, the plight of the oysters did not seem to be at the forefront of most attendees’ minds at the Outstanding in the Field dinner. They were an eclectic set that included a young, software-developer couple from Chicago, a bank executive from Tampa whose husband spent a good portion of the evening discussing the tiny house movement, and Craig Pendergrast. Pendergrast, an environmental lawyer specializing in water rights issues, was probably the exception to the rule. Like a surprising number of the night’s attendees, he hailed from Atlanta—and thus had a special vested interest in the night’s festivities, though he might have been the only one who knew it. Apalachicola and its famous oysters rely on freshwater from the Apalachicola River to supply the bay with life-sustaining nutrients and prevent it from becoming intolerably salty. The problem is that farmers in Alabama and Georgia, along with the real housewives of sprawling Atlanta, also depend on this freshwater to irrigate their crops and keep their lawns green. Chef Irv Miller of Jackson’s Steakhouse in Pensacola, Florida, whips up some fresh oysters.

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“I love this place. We’ve been unloading oysters here since the 1920s, and it’s become more than just a business—It’s our life.”

These competing demands have long been a source of intergovernmental tension among the states, which are presently entangled in a decades-long court battle to decide the issue. While concerns about freshwater are nothing new, they have grown increasingly urgent in recent years when drought gripped the Southeast and the 2010 oil spill devastated the Gulf Coast seafood industry. In the years since the oil spill, researchers have found scant evidence of contamination in the bay. However, in the weeks following the Deepwater Horizon explosion, as the spill stretched its black, oily fingers toward Apalachicola, the oystermen didn’t know what to expect. State regulators loosened existing harvest restrictions, and the locals, fearing the worst, hauled as much as they could from the bay. Now, many believe they took too much. The overharvesting, the droughts, and the thirst of Florida’s neighbors upriver have created a crisis of unprecedented proportions for the people of Apalachicola, threatening their livelihoods, their traditions, and their iconic oysters. Despite all this, Pendergrast is optimistic. He is a legal consultant to the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint Stakeholders, a consortium of industry, agriculture, seafood, and government leaders who are brokering a water management plan that could put an end to the water war. “These folks got frustrated by the political inability of the governors to come up with a deal,” Pendergrast explained while sipping a glass of white wine. “If they can reach a plan by consensus, that should provide both the pressure and the political cover for the governors to be able to say, ‘Okay—if all the people who are interested in this can agree to this, then I can too, and nobody can say I caved.’” Pendergrast, who was invited to the Outstanding in the Field dinner by a friend, said the group has been meeting quarterly for about four years and was close to finalizing a deal. As for the extent to which Atlanta is to blame for the oystermen’s woes, he said it wasn’t fair to demonize the area’s residents. “Atlanta is a piece of the puzzle,” he admitted, “but I will say it’s not the enemy. The data shows that approximately 5 percent of the water flow that would make it to Apalachicola Bay actually originates at or above Atlanta.”

Blue Bloods Pendergrast was cut short by Denevan, who mounted a stack of planks by the water and called for the guests’ Apalachicola oysters are a delicacy in peril of disappearing due to worsening water conditions in the bay from which they are harvested.

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attention. After chatting for a moment about Outstanding in the Field, he yielded the floor to Tommy Ward’s son, T.J. The Wards are seafood royalty in these parts, and T.J. Ward’s blood certainly runs blue. It’s blue like water. Blue like the blood of the horseshoe crabs that swarm the beaches of his beloved bay each spring. Blue like the sadness that comes with watching your way of life teeter on the brink of ruin. Ward, in a baseball cap and dark sunglasses, took the stand from Denevan. His speech was brief but heartfelt, clashing with the laughter and revelry of the audience, most of whom were already on a first-name basis with the wine pourers who had set up shop by the shucking stations. “I love this place,” Ward told the crowd. “We’ve been unloading oysters here since the 1920s, and it’s become more than just a business—it’s our life.” At that, a shallow stream of tears leaked from behind his glasses and glinted in the midday sun. Not many people seemed to notice. “Production levels right now are probably the worst they’ve ever been,” he went on, “so, everyone here, enjoy what you’re having because not many people get to.” And, with that, the feasting commenced. The next morning, T.J. Ward stood on the docks behind his family’s seafood market in downtown Apalachicola. Engulfed by the shadows of the shrimp trawlers, he seemed more at ease, despite the icy wind at his face. He dipped tobacco—“baseball habit, wish I didn’t have it”—and paused as he spoke to point out the different species of birds that would erupt into squawking from beneath the boats every few minutes. “That’s a kook,” he pointed out, and so on. He looked out toward the river. “I love the boats,” he said. “When I was a little kid, I didn’t think about business. I didn’t think about making money. I just thought, ‘Oh man, look at these big boats coming in.’ I used to draw pictures of shrimp boats.” He dreamed of being a captain. As he grew older, he hatched other dreams. He studied at the University of West Florida, but he’s put school on the back burner to help his family with the market. When pressed, he’ll admit it’s a sacrifice, though he’s quick to add that he couldn’t see himself anywhere else—too much history. “I’m here to help my dad out, and the industry is something I don’t want to die off.”

A Dying Breed and a Fragile Hope As T.J. Ward stood on the docks, his father sat in his office thirteen miles away, staring out a window toward the sound, which was partially obscured by the mountain of shells. The mountain used to be much higher. “I do about 5 percent of what I used to do five years ago,” Tommy Ward said. “Where I used to unload 150 to 200 bags a day, I now unload 10 to 20.” That change has affected more than just the Wards. “I used to have a lot of people who depended on us to feed their families, put their kids through school,” he said. Over the last few years, Ward has been forced to eliminate most of those positions. Top: Jim Denevan looks on as patrons enjoy a successful Outstanding in the Field event. Bottom: Tommy and T.J. Ward of 13 Mile Seafood agree their business is a labor of love that they would like to see flourish once more. V IE Z INE .C OM | 79

He’s not the only one. Before the oil spill, he said, 13 Mile was one of thirty-five to forty oyster houses in Apalachicola. Five years later, there are ten or fewer. The decline in the industry, besides its effect on his bottom line, has taken a toll on Ward emotionally. “I had a little bout with cancer,” he confided, “and you know the last few years have been tough. My New Year’s resolution was to go back to work, and since January 1, I’ve been working like I used to work. So I’m gonna work a few more years, I guess—hopefully. It’s been a battle to keep the family tradition alive with everybody trying to knock it down.” Tradition is strong in Apalachicola, and Ward waxed nostalgic as he recounted the story of 13 Mile. He spoke in measured cadences, and every word seemed to carry great emotional weight. “We’re a dying breed,” he explained, “just like cowboys. It’s—you know—it’s hard work. It’s gotta be in your blood, I guess.” He has it in his blood. A third-generation oysterman, Tommy was born to a woman with the name Martha Pearl. He lost his brother in the 1970s when his boat capsized in a storm. The bay has brought him prosperity and tragedy, but he wouldn’t forsake it for anything. He is fiercely protective Top: The sunset over Apalachicola Bay topped off a great evening of good food, friends, and family.

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of the water. If an oysterman tries to sell him oysters that have been culled too young, he blacklists him. And he has little patience for careless tourists. “All the people from Atlanta and up the river columns through Alabama and Georgia like to come down here and go trout fishing and red fishing,” he said, “but if you take away all the water and kill the estuary so you don’t have the fish and the shrimp and the oysters and all that, that part of life you enjoy will be destroyed.” “You’ve got to take care of what takes care of you,” Ward continued, echoing Denevan’s thoughts about connection to the earth. “That peace and quiet or that break away from the office for a week of fishing that you save up for every year—if you don’t take care of it, it’s gonna be gone.” Ward is optimistic that things won’t come to that. For the first time since the oil spill, he said, the oysters seem to be on the rebound. He is hopeful that, in time, the bay will recover. “I hope it comes back,” he said. “I’d like to do it one more time.” A toast to an outstanding dinner for a great cause

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FROM BELGIUM WITH LOVE Oli Petit Celebrates Twenty Years with His Famed Red Bar Interview by Chad Thurman // Story by Tori Phelps // Photography by Romona Robbins

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In a vacation hot spot like South Walton, Florida, there are restaurants geared toward tourists and restaurants that get the local business. Then there’s the Red Bar. A Grayton Beach institution for twenty years, it attracts cultlike devotion from visitors and residents alike who happily endure out-the-door lines in order to snag a table.

It’s an anomaly in the hospitality industry, and plenty of venues would love to get their hands on the Red Bar’s formula for success. It certainly isn’t fancy tablecloths or a mile-long menu filled with haute cuisine, although the food is consistently good! The decor is funky, the ambience is ultracasual, and the five or so entrées are more “straight from the sea” than “straight from Paree.” The reason for the Red Bar’s enduring success can be summed up in two words: Oli Petit.

eventually joined Louis in Little Rock, Arkansas, and helped him create a new restaurant from the ground up. It was the first of several restaurants Oli would build. His trajectory was interrupted by mandatory military service in Belgium, where he became a base cook feeding 1,500 people three meals a day. He welcomed the experience as a learning opportunity until, only three months in, he slipped a disk moving a huge bag of potatoes. His military career was over in an instant, but his career in food was just beginning.

Originally from Liège, Belgium, Oliver Petit learned the restaurant ropes from his father, Louis, who had moved to the United States in the 1970s. Oli

Oli returned Stateside in 1990 and settled in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, near his best friend, Chuck Stiles, familiar to locals as the owner of the popular

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Destin restaurant Graffiti. Oli hired out his considerable culinary skills to several area restaurants before deciding it was time to branch out on his own. He set his sights on a building that had been abandoned for a year, the latest in a long string of failed establishments at the location in Grayton Beach. Its history—and its bare-bones state—didn’t bother Oli, who had helped his father transform a similarly vacant space. This time, however, he created a herculean task for himself: get the place ready for business by Super Bowl Sunday, just three weeks away. With the help of three dedicated pals, Oli met his self-imposed deadline, launching Piccolo Restaurant and the Red Bar in January 1995. The Piccolo portion of the name, a tribute to his father’s restaurant in Little Rock, fell by the wayside fairly early on. But everything else about the business caught on immediately. With low overhead and even lower expectations, his initial goal was to gross two hundred dollars a day. “I thought with that, I could pay the rent and the light bill,” he recalls. “But the doors blew open the first day, and people came in and started partying. Just like that—from day one.” Needless to say, he had ridiculously underestimated the Red Bar’s appeal. Oli modestly chalks it up to “the right time and place,” though owners of the previously shuttered restaurants might disagree. Actually, the time element might have helped. In an era when all other bars on Scenic Highway 30-A closed at 10 p.m., the Red Bar stayed open until 2 a.m. It soon drew waitstaff and bartenders from all the other bars and restaurants in town who needed a place they could unwind and let someone serve them. His one glaring misstep early on was installing pool tables. If you’ve been to the Red Bar, it may be hard to imagine where in the world pool tables could fit. The short answer was that they didn’t. Not really. Oli found out that drunks and pool sticks weren’t a good combination, but more important, he needed to reclaim that space for dining. “Within three months, the pool tables came out,” he says. “I used to cover those billiard tables with tablecloths during dinner, and people literally sat on the pool tables to eat.” The space and the sloshed-with-cue-sticks problems were solved, but he had to take care of one more issue: making nice with the neighbors. He admits to running afoul of noise laws on more than one occasion, even ending up in the newspaper a few times. The atmosphere for the first two years was “party hearty,” Oli says, including live music every night, and, when the band stopped, disco music cranked at top volume. With no air conditioning, the windows were thrown wide open, and his Grayton Beach neighbors were up in arms. Oli was just trying to entertain his crowds, but he admits to going about it the wrong way. His life soon revolved around county commission meetings, liquor ordinances, and other problems lobbed at both the business and his patrons. The Red Bar has been under a noise and liquor ordinance since 1997, effectively shutting down his previous operational style. Oli accepted it with his usual good grace, even pulling his close time back to eleven o’clock. “I came to the realization that I liked my neighbors and that they had real concerns,” he says. “From 1997 until now it’s been harmony, and our relationship has been spectacular. I thank everyone in Grayton Beach who put up with me.” V IE Z INE .C OM | 87

RECIPE FOR SUCCESS There was an unexpected upside to the initial turmoil. Oli credits that very public battle with putting the Red Bar on the map. And he didn’t even have to compromise on the band angle. The self-confessed closet musician—he’s a drummer—has had live music at the Red Bar for twenty years. “Every night I’m open, there’s a band playing for you, and twice on Sunday,” Oli adds. It’s a win-win. As a music lover, he prides himself on booking great performers he thinks customers will enjoy. At the same time, Oli can continue to support local musicians and the art of music itself. And did we mention there’s no cover charge? It’s just part of the experience at the Red Bar, Oli maintains, insisting it would affect business if he messed with the live music. He may be right. After all, tourists and residents alike have come to know and love the bands at the Red Bar. There’s Hubba Hubba, of course, the band that played at the restaurant’s opening twenty years ago and is still popping in. The band’s influences include Delbert McClinton, the Memphis Jug Band, Ry Cooder, and Chuck Berry, among others, and its guitarist 88 | M A R C H /A P R I L 2 015

Duke Bardwell spent many years touring with Elvis Presley before moving to the Gulf Coast. Another local favorite band, Dread Clampitt, has been doing the double shows on Sundays, as well as Monday nights, for years. And John “Jabo” Starks has spent nearly as much time at the Red Bar as Oli; he’s played drums there five nights a week for eighteen years. Jabo first began playing on 30-A at Bud and Alley’s in Seaside, and he had previously toured with James Brown for years. “It’s just a real laid-back place; I’ve never played a place like the Red Bar,” Jabo says. “This is the best gig I’ve ever had. It’s a blessing and I’m thankful for it. Even more, when I have to go away and do some other things, I’m supported by Oli and by my friends and family here at the Red Bar. That’s just the way that is; it’s just a big family.” Live music is part of the winning trifecta that Oli ultimately pinpoints as his recipe for success. “I feel like I give a lot to the customers,” he says. “You get a good meal, a good drink, and a world-class band.” It’s a combination he doesn’t believe exists anywhere else on 30-A. That’s not to say that all of his customers adore all three parts. In fact, some put up with one or two aspects in order to enjoy what they do like. “Not everyone is coming to eat

Live music is part of the winning trifecta that Oli ultimately pinpoints as his recipe for success. “I feel like I give a lot to the customers,” he says. “You get a good meal, a good drink, and a world-class band.”

my chicken penne,” Oli says frankly. “There are a few regulars who don’t care for the restaurant; they think, ‘Five entrées? What the hell is that?’” The food is a huge draw for others. Oli’s chef training has resulted in a small but excellent menu that offers fresh favorites like blackened grouper and crab cakes. Figuring out what’s working and what needs tweaking within his trifecta is a constant challenge, in part because the customer makeup is as varied as the music. “There are hard-core locals—the unassuming people who work for a living and then come out to hear the music,” he says. “They’re not necessarily owners of

big mansions, but they live this beach life and come here to love this place. And then we get those big mansion owners in here too, and the two groups mingle. I love that.” The relaxed atmosphere inside the Red Bar facilitates a mix-and-mingle vibe. The eclectic decor may look haphazard, but there’s a reason for—and a story behind—everything. Oli’s decorating style was inspired by a bar his father owned in Belgium called Bric à Brac. The design, he recalls, was a bohemian mix of texture and color that paid tribute to pop culture. Oli

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wanted to bring a similar sense of meaningful whimsy to the Red Bar, but it’s not a concept that lends itself to a one-and-done shopping trip. “This look is not an easy thing to re-create; there’s a lot of research,” he says. “All of these pieces come from years of collecting.” Father and son are kindred spirits in their dedication to hunting down special pieces via garage sales, flea markets, and some seriously nasty piles of castoffs. The recipient of these often-elusive treasure-hunting trips isn’t just the Red Bar. The family restaurant dynasty also includes Louis Louis, run by Oli’s younger brother, Louis. Their brother Philippe is also heavily involved in the family business. Louis Louis, located on Highway 98 in Santa Rosa Beach, has a lot in common with the Red Bar, from the carefully chosen decor to the short but sweet dinner menu. There’s also a courtyard in which diners can bask in the Florida weather.

Up next for the family is the Destin Diner at the corner of Airport Road and Highway 98. It will serve typical diner fare—breakfast favorites and cheeseburgers—during the day, with the nighttime menu incorporating Red Bar–like food. 90 | M A R C H /A P R I L 2 015

Up next for the family is the Destin Diner at the corner of Airport Road and Highway 98. It will serve typical diner fare—breakfast favorites and cheeseburgers—during the day, with the nighttime menu incorporating Red Bar–like food. “It will be a kicked-up diner because I have a liquor license,” he explains. The Petit family’s legacy of restaurant success (excluding a years-ago attempt called 331 Bar and Restaurant) speaks to a tradition of hard work, good instincts, and a willingness to take risks. To that list Oli would also add “an extraordinary staff,” who he says are the unsung heroes behind the Red Bar. He can easily rattle off a handful of people with remarkably long tenures. “Keagan Anderson, our manager, has been with the Red Bar for fourteen years; server and resident artist Bryan Hand has been with me since 1997;

Georgie behind the bar has been here since 1996; and Stacey has been here since 1995,” he lists. These long-term stints are particularly noteworthy considering the high turnover rate common in the industry. Employees clearly love working with Oli, and, in turn, the prosperous business rewards staffers well. Whether it’s because of love, money, or both, Oli hopes his Red Bar crew continues to stick around. “They’re good at what they do,” he raves. “They create an environment for themselves that reflects their best. They look at their time here as their own business, and they have that freedom.” With so many longtimers on the payroll, Oli has developed a relationship with them that’s more than employee-employer. And that’s a double-edged sword. “The musicians, the staff, the people of the Red Bar—we’ve all grown up together, and these years have bonded us like a family,” he says. “We’ve had our disagreements and reconciled. It’s always been a bit of my struggle to manage being one of the guys with being a business owner. I’ve failed many times when I made bad judgments or fired or hired the wrong person. But twenty years later, we’re still kicking.” Oli and the Red Bar are more than kicking— they’re thriving. From the beginning, he was committed to staying active in the business; he knew that privately owned restaurants rarely survive otherwise. Fortunately, it’s a lifestyle Oli seems born for. And he welcomes anyone who wants to join him for a good meal, a good drink, and a world-class band.

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Northwest Florida’s vast wilderness, extensive rivers, many bayous and bays, and coastline along the Gulf of Mexico made it the ideal place to make and move illegal alcohol. With a train line running directly from Chicago to Northwest Florida, wealthy men from the big cities traveled to the area for more than just fishing trips and golfing in the sun. Two distilled products drew them and their money to the state: turpentine and alcohol. Both industries proved to be integral to the livelihoods of many of the small communities along the Gulf Coast during this period of American history. And, early in 1929, one of the wealthy businessmen in Florida was Al Capone. Fast-forward to February 20, 2014, when Okaloosa County’s first legal alcoholic spirit was produced in the historic Fox Theatre building in downtown Crestview, Florida. This beverage was created by Tyler Peaden, his brother Trey, and their partner, Robert Ellis, and was distilled just a hundred yards from the county courthouse—all with the blessing of the permitting governmental agencies. Tyler Peaden credits curiosity and his background in the local service industry as instrumental to his entry into the distilling business. However, after spending time at Peaden Brothers Distillery on Main Street in Crestview, one soon finds that there may be some family tradition involved in the process as well. “I was in the bar business, and curiosity paved the way for what we have here. We won’t go into depth about it, but in the application for the federal side of things, there’s an area where they want to see your equipment—but you are not yet legal, so it’s one of 96 | M A R C H /A P R I L 2 015

those gray areas,” Tyler says. “Fortunately, a field officer with the Florida beverage control board— who I worked with years ago—told me the way to go about things. He said, ‘Alright, here’s the deal. Y’all can have the equipment since you’re in the licensing process, but do not assemble it.’” While the distillery was under construction, the brand-new still was kept on the top floor of a local office in downtown Crestview. “The still sat up there for seven or so months,” Tyler continues. “We had the equipment about nine months before we could use it.” Finally, the Peaden brothers and Robert Ellis were able to create the first legally distilled spirits produced in Okaloosa County. “The recipe was right on the money, though I believe it could have been run twice. We single distilled it, and it should have been double distilled. You can smell the difference, but most notably, when you double distill, it smoothes out and enhances the flavor immensely. We just ran it through quickly as a novelty thing so we could say that it was the first of the first, but it’s not a spirit that you would want to drink. It’s rough; it’s moonshine.” The more a spirit is distilled, the purer the alcohol becomes, which gives it a smoother finish. With the Peaden Brothers’ bigger still, they are now able to double distill their liquors in one run. “That’s all one needs to do. The proof ’s there, the quality’s there, and that’s all in a single run. If you distill too many times, it becomes such a fine alcohol that there is no flavor of the grains left. It just turns into vodka basically.” After the distillation process, the spirits age in new, charred white oak barrels for five to six months (for bourbon). Using smaller barrels can speed up the aging process, while large barrels may take years. “The smaller the barrel, the faster we can age it,” Tyler explains. “We could do it in as little as three to four months. Barrels are in short supply now, but we locked in with our supplier on a contract before all of the hype about distilling popped up from the Discovery Channel show Moonshiners. They call us and ask how many barrels we’ll need.” Speaking of Moonshiners, the show’s featured bootlegger, Don Wood, stopped by to check out Peaden Brothers Distillery last year. “He contacted me with a couple of e-mails,” Tyler says. “Back in October, he informed me that he would be in Crestview at the end of the month. On his way back from V IE Z INE .C OM | 97

Oktoberfest in Daytona, he asked if he could come and see our facility and still.” When Wood stopped by, the distillery was still under construction, but the bootlegger was impressed nonetheless. “He said that he had been all over the country looking at stills and the way that they were laid out and the way that they were marketed, and he said that our operation was unique and outside of the box—the novelty of it being in an old theatre; the way the tasting room turned out looking like a barrel; and the fact that production is happening on Main Street less than a hundred yards from the county seat courthouse.” Peaden Brothers Distillery is well known within the craft distillers’ industry for creating all-natural, flavored whiskies and moonshines. The Peadens say that this fame enables them to create and produce more flavors that will be coming out this spring. “We started out with flavors that were seventy proof. We’ll have more flavors out this spring that are forty proof like everyone else on the market,” Tyler explains. “We have bourbon that has been very successful; I’ve got a rye in the back aging now. On the moonshine, we have a unique process that makes it clear. We do this with absolutely no sugar; it’s allnatural in that we use an enzyme to force the sugars out, and then, of course, the corn will ferment. A lot of people in the distilling industry and some in the brewing industry, too, take a lot of pride in using enzymes. It’s not something that is very easy to do. It is very time consuming and you have to babysit the still; it’s not just a ‘cook it and go’ process. There is a lot more maintenance involved on our part to do it this way.” The story behind Tyler’s favorite flavored whiskey from the distillery, Strawberry Angel AMP, brings a more serious note to the business. “My daughter passed away the year before last at the age of twenty from diabetes,” he explains. “That was a big shock because she was here one day and then she was just gone. When that happened, we had already worked on the recipe, but I didn’t know about the labeling or name going on the bottle; my brother and partner came up with all of that as a tribute to her. Strawberry Angel, Alana Michelle Peaden—those are her initials.” Even the bar code on the label was customized so the last four digits are Alana’s birthday, 6-9-93, which is also part of the federal serial and identification numbers of one of the Peaden Brothers stills. 98 | M A R C H /A P R I L 2 015






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blueberry fields there. It has the wonderful taste of old-fashioned corn whiskey with a hint of blueberry. It’s an excellent whiskey to use in a mixed drink or drink chilled straight.” Big Granny’s Apple Cobbler is a tribute to the Peadens’ grandmother. “We threw a curveball to the apple pie flavors of other boutique distilleries and did the apple cobbler angle instead. We use our own proprietary blend of spices to simulate an apple cobbler.”

“They also put her initials on the floor of the tasting room. My partner and my brother did all of that during the time I was away after I lost her; I had no idea they had done all of that.” Tyler Peaden credits his wife as being the alchemist behind the flavors, adding that she is very good at this part of the business. “The most difficult flavored moonshine to do was the one we call Shock the Monkey Nanner Shine,” he says. “If you ever try to get flavor out of a banana, there’s none there. My wife went through every natural banana in the world trying to get that natural banana flavor—because we 100 | M A R C H /A P R I L 2 015

are all-natural. Somehow or another she hit the flavor close, so we left it at that.” Another popular flavor, Cherry Da Bomb, was created as a salute to the military. “It has a 1940s pin up girl on the label that is reminiscent of the airplane nose art on American bombers during World War II,” Tyler shares. “It’s a big favorite with cherry lovers— a nice blend of corn whiskey with a rich cherry finish.” “Blue Berry Curve is named for an area just north of town here in Crestview,” he continues. “Back when we were in high school, there were giant

In fact, every flavor’s name ties back to a story about the Peadens, and Tyler’s brother Trey does all of the artwork and label designs. “We named our moonshine after the building we’re in,” Tyler says. “We submitted to get the moonshine approved for sale, knowing that it normally takes ninety days to get a formula approved—but we were approved in just twenty days. And it takes forty-five days to get a label approved, so we were all caught realizing that we hadn’t even decided on a name for the product yet. We three—Robert Ellis, Trey, and I—happened to be standing out in front of the building during this conversation. The building, of course, is the old Fox Theatre, so we named it the Fox 382 Special Edition Moonshine.”

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When Tyler speaks of Peaden’s rye whiskey formula and its namesake, he takes on the air of a seasoned orator of folklore. “Otahite Reserve Rye is named for an area around Blackwater State Forest,” he reveals. “Otahite is where my grandfather started the first post office in Northwest Florida. It was also a trading post for the Native Americans in the area. I knew my grandfather was in the turpentine and timber businesses. We have since found out through a historian that he was also in the spirits business. Otahite was very close to the forest. The outpost had proximity to the rivers, and the major roads and railways were basically in the backyard. Recently, a family relative shared the true story of a tree brand that had been with the family since the turpentine days at the turn of the twentieth century. This particular tree brand was used to mark timber, turpentine barrels—and other barrels. They stamped each barrel in a particular way so that, depending on where the brand was—on the top or on the side—it indicated whether it contained turpentine or spirits. When the barrels floated down Blackwater River to the Otahite outpost, the workers would then know the right barge to load the marked barrels on.” Tyler goes on to explain that local historians believe notorious gangster Al Capone stayed in the area, specifically in Valparaiso, as he traveled to and from his house in Miami. “At the time, Capone was traveling between Illinois and Florida; the train from Chicago came directly to DeFuniak Springs,” Tyler says. “It was believed for many years that Capone’s bootleggers worked out of the Blackwater Forest. Whichever way Capone was going, his men were going the other way with his whiskey. I had three local historians contact me with this information. We had always heard that he came here to play golf, but we always wondered, why here? Then, with the historians and my relative’s information about the tree brand, we bridged the link of Al Capone to the area’s spirit industry during Prohibition.”

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The Peaden brothers and Robert Ellis carry on a local and storied tradition that blends history and good times with fine spirits and meaningful flavors. Peaden Brothers Distillery has a major distribution deal in the works, in addition to the many new flavors and unique spirits currently reserved in the aging process. The distillery maintains a website with an online store at www.peadenbrothersdistillery. com. Peaden also suggests people like their Facebook fan page found under the same name. The distillery offers tastings at 382 North Main Street in Crestview, Florida. They are open Wednesdays through Saturdays from noon to five and can open other times upon request. Call the distillery at (850) 306-1344.


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What has been your favorite photo shoot so far and why? Probably the photo shoot I did for Eidé Magazine. I was able to wear these really fancy designer hats and the makeup was really cool. They also picked my photo for the cover, so that was exciting!

VIE caught up with Emme (pronounced Emmy) recently to find out how her SWFW experience changed from 2013 to 2014, what it’s like to be a professional model, and more.

Do you like photo shoots or runway shows better? I like runway because it’s really exciting to be in the moment and wear cool clothes, but I like photo shoots better because you kind of get to perform a role and pretend to be someone else—that’s fun for me.

VIE: How did you first decide to try out for SWFW in 2013? EMME: I have always been interested in modeling, and I thought it would be a fun opportunity to do something local. I had also never tried runway modeling before.

What is your biggest challenge or the hardest part of modeling for you? Probably just making sure I eat healthy and exercise regularly!

How did it feel when you were announced as the winner? I was honestly really shocked because I was only fifteen and still had braces. I had never done runway before, so I didn’t think I was very good. I didn’t believe it when they said my name, but I was soooo excited!

What is your favorite thing about modeling? I love being able to go to cool cities and do fun photo shoots with some really great photographers.

What happened next? How was the experience shooting with Sheila Goode for VIE magazine and for other projects around South Walton? The day after I won, we had the photo shoot for VIE. It was probably the first really professional photo shoot I had done, but the photos turned out great! Sheila is a really close family friend and I always love shooting with her. I have been doing photo shoots for Mercantile in Seaside, Florida, throughout the year with Sheila; they have been a blast! Since SWFW 2013, you have been working with Click Models of Atlanta. What is it like being represented by an agency? I was so excited about signing with Click in Atlanta since it was kind of the first step I took in modeling. After that, I actually went on to sign with their New York office as well. Being signed with an agency is great because they have great connections and always look out for you. What other projects have you worked on since winning SWFW? Since winning SWFW, I have been on the cover of BeachLIFE in South Walton, Coastal Living magazine in Birmingham, Alabama, Eidé Magazine in Atlanta, and Southern Views Magazine in Georgia. I have also had opportunities to go to New York and Atlanta and shoot with some amazing photographers!

Do you hope to continue modeling as a career or just for fun? I really hope to be able to model as a career; I would love to be able to travel and meet cool people. When I graduate high school, I really want to move to New York so that I can model full-time. My dream is to model for Victoria’s Secret. What was it like to model during SWFW 2014 and not have to worry about the competition part of walking the runway? It was kind of crazy because they put me in thirteen shows this year! But it was really fun to be back. I was more confident and I actually knew what I was doing. It was also really fun to meet the models and not feel like they were my competition—ha-ha! Will we see you on the runway at SWFW 2015? Yeah!

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Photo by Hayley Green

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How would you describe your personal style when you’re not at a shoot or runway show? I would say my style is casual but a little edgy. I usually just wear darker clothing with jeans and my boots from Mercantile in Seaside. What are two pieces of advice you would give to someone who is modeling for the first time? For runway, it’s really important to just be confident in your walk and not to overthink it. On photo shoots, it’s definitely important to know what angles work best for you and not to be stiff.

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ashion events around the world leave industry experts and excited onlookers alike gushing over the most delicately crafted gowns and wondering which celebrities will be sporting them on the red carpet come awards season. But sometimes some of the most iconic designs can be overlooked—because they’re for men. However, as the fall/winter 2015 menswear at the London Collections: Men events this January proved, the high-fashion scene is seeing a creative evolution when it comes to men’s designers. London Collections: Men, organized and hosted by the British Fashion Council, kicked off the global fashion calendar and showcased international menswear brands, traditional heritage tailoring, and some of the world’s most innovative emerging designers. The event was increased to four days this year, having claimed a slot on the London Fashion Week womenswear calendar six years ago with the exhibition of MAN, a joint initiative between Topman Design and Fashion East. “It really stands testament to the level of quality and, more importantly, creativity that we have right here in London,” said Gordon Richardson, creative director of Topman. “London Collections: Men is a fabulous showcase of menswear designers who are not only contributing to our economy, but adding to our city’s global reputation for innovation and creativity,” said London’s mayor, Boris Johnson. “In bringing together fashion, music, and art, these latest shows are also driving home the role that this hugely important creative sector has at the heart of London’s vibrant cultural life.” The event featured thirty-seven menswear presentations at its Victoria House, Hospital Club, and Old Sorting Office show spaces, and seventy designers exhibited in designer showrooms at both the Hospital Club and Victoria House. Official event sponsors included Fudge Professional, GQ, the Hospital Club, Lavazza Coffee, Penhaligon’s, Mercedes-Benz, Radisson Blu Edwardian London, Swatch, Topman, and the Woolmark Company.

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“The success of the UK’s menswear sector is rooted in a very British culture of discourse between the fashion industry and the broader creative industries,” said Dylan Jones OBE, chair of London Collections: Men and editor of British GQ. “The wide net of cultural contexts provides not only an unrivaled resource to support and stimulate ideas at design conception, but as this season’s London Collections: Men schedule shows, it is also very important in delivering the unique and imaginative showcases London has become synonymous with.” These creative showcases included the world’s first leather jacket with a built-in camera, presented by Ada + Nik; the jacket even live-posted photos straight to Twitter during the runway show. Belstaff ’s presentation was set to a live soundtrack by English rock band Propellers, while Pink Cigar provided the live music for Sir Tom Baker’s show at the 100 Club. Meanwhile, Soulland provided guests with a free app available for download that allowed users to film the models, get exclusive online content, and share on social media platforms directly from the events.

It’s no secret that fashion and film go hand in hand. Many London Collections: Men presentations included the creative use of film, either featuring short collaborative films and documentaries during the presentations or using film to document the creations of their designs. Some of those screening films were U Clothing, Senhor Prudêncio, KTZ, James Long, Hentsch Man, Casely Hayford, Alan Taylor, and the Museum of London in conjunction with Savile Row tailors Norton and Sons. Many of these films are available to view online from their respective creators. Caroline Rush, chief executive of the British Fashion Council, added, “It’s within the UK’s DNA to draw creativity from all quarters of society, and the AW15 London Collections: Men schedule is a testament to this. To sustain Britain as this creative center—one that drives so much productivity and growth—we will continue to celebrate and champion creative collaborations that cross disciplinary boundaries, which is not only essential for innovation but is essential for the UK’s creative industries, of which the fashion industry plays a key part.”

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Wedding in Wine Country

By Jordan Staggs Photography by Chandler Williams – Modus Photography

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When Deke Lee and Joseph Rogers agreed to a blind date that had been set up by a mutual friend in Orlando, both were skeptical. They had spoken on the phone and even decided they probably would not get along, but they went ahead with the plan just to please their friend. When their eyes met, however, everything changed. “It was there—that moment in time when you know two people have been brought together for an unknown reason,” Deke says. “It wasn’t until several hours later that reason was discovered; the reason was that we would spend the rest of our lives together.” The pair enjoyed cocktails and dinner and hours of conversations, both that night and on the phone after Joseph had gone back to Destin, Florida, where he lived. They quickly decided that Deke should move there, too. “I agreed to move to a place that I had not yet visited,” he says. “It was a rather large decision to move back to a small town after moving away from one to be in a larger city.” The decision was the right one, though; just a couple months later, Deke proposed. “Our engagement was unconventional, I would have to say,” Deke admits. “In 1999, the option of our being married was a dream that we could only hope for one day. But we knew we wanted to be able to do that—we knew we wanted to spend our lives together and someday have a family of our own. That December following our meeting in October, I gave Joseph a ring and asked him if he would be mine. He did the same a few months later on Valentine’s Day.” When Massachusetts became the first state to legalize gay marriage in 2004, the couple’s dream began to become a real possibility. “We knew the future of gay marriage lay in the hands of the courts, and it would take time for all that to be resolved. With only a few states left fighting now, it will soon become a nonissue, as it should be.” Fast-forward to October 15, 2014—exactly fifteen years from the day Deke and Joseph met—and a beautiful private vineyard in Yountville, the heart of wine country in Napa Valley, California. A rainy morning gave way to sun breaking through the clouds that afternoon, and Joseph and Deke said “I do” in front of a gathering of thirty-five close friends. “In the summer of 2013, Joseph’s best friend from childhood sent us a video of two guys getting engaged and it brought us to tears,” Deke recalls. “After that, we decided we had no other option but to start planning our wedding.” “During our first trip to Napa in 2011, we attended a harvest party and fell in love with this particular vineyard,” Joseph divulges. Joseph and Deke immediately knew they wanted to host the wedding at the vineyard; the problem was that the venue didn’t do weddings. Their hearts were set on it, so they began to converse with 120 | M A R C H /A P R I L 2 015

The Engagement

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“We didn’t want all the fuss that surrounds a wedding. Our most-loved thing to do is to have a long dinner surrounded by the people we love.”

a contact there about making an exception. Deke explains, “We spoke with our beloved contact and it took months of conversations, but during our annual pilgrimage to the motherland of Cabernet, we finally sealed the deal and the location was set!” The couple had also chosen an officiant years in advance, having discussed the matter with close friend Dr. William Burden one night at Seagar’s in Destin. “Long before Joseph and I were able to get married legally, we were having dinner with Dr. Burden and his wife, Pam, and he told us that when it became legal, he would like to be the one to perform the ceremony.” The same contact at the vineyard served as wedding planner for Deke and Joseph, who knew exactly what they wanted and trusted her to know them well enough to pull it off without a hitch. “It was more perfect than we could ever have dreamed,” Deke recalls. “We didn’t want all the fuss that surrounds a wedding. Our most-loved thing to do is to have a long dinner surrounded by the people we love and drink wine for hours on end, and that is what we did.” The reception dinner was catered by Cook St. Helena and the cake was created by Sweetie Pies in Napa.

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Instead of a rehearsal dinner, Deke and Joseph held a luncheon at the Hotel Yountville— which is also where their friends and family stayed—so their guests could spend the rest of the day enjoying the scenery and great restaurants in Yountville. “We thought that everyone would enjoy lunch and then head off to wine tastings and dinner; we were wrong!” Joseph laughs. “The lunch started at eleven thirty with cocktails and champagne. It was catered by the hotel and was absolutely perfect! The food was incredible, and the team went far beyond what we expected.” The rehearsal celebration ended up lasting into the night; the fun and revelry paired perfectly with wines pulled from the cellars of Bill and Joan Smith of W.H. Smith Wines. In lieu of a honeymoon, Joseph and Deke spent eight days in Napa and San Francisco celebrating together and with their loved ones. The couple would like to extend heartfelt thanks to their dear friends who hosted not one, but three engagement parties: Dr. William and Pam Burden hosted a celebration at their beautiful home (featured in this story); Ron and Joy Adams, Johnie and Dawn Weems, and Dr. Catherine Michas honored the couple with a party at the Adams’s home; and Deke and Joseph’s dedicated team from Avantgarde Salon Spa partied at a gathering hosted by Dustin Brooks and Jeremy Hatfield.

Special Thanks ½ Officiant: Dr. William Burden ½ Rehearsal lunch: Hotel Yountville, W.H. Smith Wines ½ Reception catering: Cook St. Helena ½ Wedding cake: Sweetie Pies Bakery in Napa ½ Wedding attire: Tom Ford, Giuseppe Zanotti ½ Photography: Chandler Williams of ½ Invitations: Alexa Pulitzer ½ Transportation: Beau Wine Tours & Limousine Service








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55 CENTRAL SQUARE \ SEASIDE, FL 850.231.5405

Blushing Beauties A Passion for All Things Pretty


“Since I was eight years old, I’ve imagined a place where girls and women could have fun and feel beautiful.” That’s my answer when friends ask me why I opened Blush Beauty Lounge. I love to be surrounded by things that make me feel beautiful and peaceful. Sheer linens blowing in the breeze and hues of soft pastels feel pretty to me. I close my eyes and I’m sitting in a tropical cabana with the warm breeze blowing. That’s Blush. When I first imagined Blush Beauty Lounge, I wanted it to have a spa/salon feel without being a traditional spa. I wanted people to come in and feel relaxed, to chat, to sip a glass of champagne or a cup of coffee, and to feel a sense of understated extravagance. Blush is approachable. We already know you. You are one of us. You’re greeted with a smile and a hug. Here, you are a girlfriend! Beauty has always been a part of my life. As a girl, I formed a natural obsession with creating beauty

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products. I used to make hair conditioners and face masks with whatever I could find in my parents’ kitchen. There was no Internet back then. My mother would get Reader’s Digest, Redbook, and other women’s magazines in the mail and I would scour them, searching for recipes on how to do an avocado and oatmeal mask. I remember one episode involving egg yolks and mayonnaise that I whipped up for my hair. The kitchen was a mess, but I felt my hair never looked better! My passion really irritated my parents. I’m pretty sure I left the bathroom smelling like egg yolk. In high school, I was very athletic. I played sports but was always excited to change out of my basketball uniform and put on some sparkly lip gloss. For my first homecomings and proms, I thought I was “supposed to” get my makeup done at the local department store cosmetics counter. I never liked that makeup. I looked old; the makeup was dark and it wasn’t fun. I thought, “I would be better off doing my own, so why don’t I?” I became the makeup artist for all my friends as well.

The power of touch is very healing and it’s also a release. My clients feel relaxed with me, and I feel connected to them.

After working several years for Bobbi Brown, I wanted to stay closer to home so I could focus on raising my daughter. I rented a space out of a spa in Destin, Florida, but I was living on 30-A; the commute wasn’t fitting in with my life. I started thinking, “How am I going to bring my worlds together?” That’s when I started scouting spaces on 30-A and saw a sign that said “Space for Lease” in Seagrove Beach. It was a very intimate space—small and perfect. I said, “This is it; I can make it work. It’s just me and I can count on me. I can do it!” It was a big step, but now I feel that I offer a complete package: my skin care background and my passion to make my clients feel pretty. Feeling pretty helps a girl exude confidence, and confidence is powerful!

I was also obsessed with nail polish. At one point, I had a collection of sixty nail polishes that I set up as a nail bar. I was just so drawn to all the colors. Looking back, it was a big waste of my allowance, as there was no way one girl could use all those colors! I didn’t realize at the time how telling that would be for my future as a makeup artist.

My clients joke all the time that they also get a therapy session when they visit Blush. Someone once told me, “Be very careful about being friends with clients,” but that closeness actually really works for me. The power of touch is very healing and it’s also a release. My clients feel relaxed with me, and I feel connected to them; we have a level of friendship that opens the door for complete honesty when it comes to the care of their bodies.

My family moved to the beach when I was fourteen years old, and I settled along the beaches of Highway 30-A in my thirties. It’s been a great journey. In my early twenties, when my friends were getting married, I would do their makeup. I also attempted to teach them to do their own. I realized I could teach makeup application, but I couldn’t figure out how to teach color; I think it’s something that just comes naturally to certain people. You have to understand color like an artist. About that time, I started working for Bobbi Brown Cosmetics and traveled as a featured regional artist working with their new product launches, all the while developing a wedding makeup business along the Emerald Coast of Florida. I soon started booking all my Saturdays with weddings—it kind of sneaked up on me!

Every day, the future of Blush is expanding. Sometimes I have a hard time knowing which project to work on next. I’m excited to expand my business and accommodate more clients, as well as to develop my own product line. My hope is that the passion I have for fitness and nutrition will also be incorporated into my business. Organs, inside and out, all fit together; skin care and health care go hand in hand. When I work with clients, their skin tells me the story of their lifestyle. Don’t be fooled—your skin tells all!

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Coastal Cuisine with a Southern Twist

SUNDAY FUNDAYS with Forrest Williams at 4:00 p.m. HAPPY HOUR Monday thru Friday 3:00–5:00 p.m. WINE DOWN WEDNESDAY ½ price wines, 75 ¢ wings | bar only promotion 3711 West County HWY 30A


JOE DONOVAN & COMPANY Insurance Agents

Skin care and health care go hand in hand. When I work with clients, their skin tells me the story of their lifestyle. Handling all of your Marine Insurance needs.

From full-body skin care to organic sunless tanning and makeup application, Blush Beauty Lounge offers women a wide range of services and products, all specially selected based on my own discoveries. I’ve been blessed to meet many amazing women in this community; they’re my inspiration for the future of Blush. I guess it’s all coming together.

Custom & Production Sportfishing Boats Center Consoles with Multiple Engines Charter Boats  Mega Yachts Yachts  Guides


850.622.0721 Photo by Marla Carter 128 | M A R C H /A P R I L 2 015

An Urban Dining Experience by the Beach Florida Trend’s Golden Spoon Award winner four years in a row Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence for seven years running (2008-2014) Honored on Urbanspoon’s list of “America’s Top 250 High-End Restaurants”

Steak | Seafood | Sushi | Pizza | Dessert | Cocktails Private Rooms and Full-Service Catering Available.

Firefly Restaurant & Lounge at the Shoppes of Edgewater Panama City Beach, Florida

850.249.3359 •


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In 1995, I had just started writing a restaurant review column for the Northwest Florida Daily News. The now-robust restaurant scene in the Scenic Highway 30-A area was just starting to grow. Criolla’s and Bud & Alley’s were the mainstays of fine dining, and there was a good deal of buzz about a new restaurant that was being built by the owner of popular Kat & Harri’s in Montgomery, Alabama. I was familiar with Kat & Harri’s and was eager to try this new place, aptly named Café Thirty-A. My parents came with me the first time I visited. We had luscious seafood, flavorful steaks, and beautiful desserts. Every detail was perfect, and my dad proclaimed it his favorite restaurant. That first visit led to others, which included birthdays, anniversaries, and special Father’s Day dinners. I was happy when Harriet Crommelin decided to move south and open Café Thirty-A. Harriet is an accidental restaurateur with a gift for discerning what diners want. In 1982, she realized that extremely high interest rates did not mix with her real estate business in Montgomery. She considered opening a deli, bought a liquor license, and opened a bar with her friend Kathy (the Kat in Kat & Harri’s). Four months later, she bought Kathy out, and the bar went on to become a Montgomery landmark. It was so popular that, even though it has been closed since 2011, people still refer to the location as Kat & Harri’s. As many Montgomery locals do, Harriet visited the 30-A area. While attending a wine festival at Seaside, she noticed the crowds attending, and thought that the people enjoying the festival would also enjoy her chef ’s cooking. She soon found a piece of property on 30-A not far from Seaside, and construction of Café Thirty-A started just after Thanksgiving in 1994.

Harriet’s focus is on hospitality. She wants her guests to feel at home and treats them like family. She found inspiration for the restaurant in the things she enjoyed when she dined out. The idea of the divided seating areas that create intimacy in a large room came from Mark’s Place in Miami. The menu design— a large single sheet of paper with the daily food offerings on the front and the wine list on the back— came from Tom Catherall of Tom Tom in Atlanta. Harriet quips, “Sometimes plagiarism is a good thing.” And Harriet does not hesitate to give credit to those who had a part in the creation of Café Thirty-A. Architect Phillip Spann designed a building that gives the feel of a beach cottage while comfortably accommodating 180 diners downstairs and another 80 upstairs. Designer Nancy Pickard Blach created a fresh, light interior that is both casual and elegant. Lisa Ruby painted the backs of the chairs to match the wallpaper above the bar and in the restrooms, which was a model for the original design. The recipes of original chef Willie McGehee helped create the menu. Roasted red and golden beet salad with Gorgonzola, radicchio, candied pecans, and blood orange vinaigrette and seared, rare, sesamecrusted tuna were on the menu when I visited last. V IE Z INE .C OM | 131

Harriet has also created a family within her staff, often hiring from within: general manager Dave Kessler started work at Café Thirty-A in 1996 as a member of the waitstaff; office manager Jackie Maliszewski was a member of the waitstaff and a bartender; and chef Ken Duenas, who has been at Café Thirty-A for ten years, started as a line cook. The entire team works together well, and it benefits the diner. Service is polished but not formal. Other touches that make a difference include an extensive half-bottle wine list with some really lovely choices (think 2010 Shafer Merlot or Billecart-Salmon Brut Reserve). Half bottles make it possible to have dinner 132 | M A R C H /A P R I L 2 015

for two with a wine pairing to match each course. There is also a buy one entrée, get another free special from five to six o’clock every evening. The menu at Café Thirty-A exhibits the same casual elegance as the decor. There are nods to classic cuisines of Asia and Europe. Prince Edward Island mussels are served in coconut curry; meltingly tender grouper tops a white bean and pancetta cassoulet. Comfort can be found there, too. Maine Lobster in Paradise featuring truffled mac and cheese and the braised short rib with wild mushroom polenta are good examples.

Flavors of the coastal south abound. Jumbo lump crab cakes are served with greens and Joe’s Mustard Sauce. Grilled Georgia quail shares a plate with creamy grits. Succulent grilled pork porterhouse is served with roasted corn and bacon skillet pudding. The desserts are classic (crème brûlée; banana beignets with macadamia ice cream), homey (lemon pound cake), and creative (s’mores with chocolate brownie graham crackers and house-made marshmallows). All are deeply satisfying ends to a meal. There is an electric atmosphere inside Café Thirty-A. The dining room is filled with happy people, and


the service moves quickly to accommodate. Groups gather around the bar, which is managed by Jim Joy. Look for small batch bourbon, single malt scotch, and a list of specialty drinks. Cosmopolitans, Manhattans, and lemon drops are tasty classics, while the refreshing Lucky Dog Margarita Tini is a wonderful take on the margarita that includes blood orange flavors. A dollar from each Lucky Dog sold is donated to Alaqua Animal Refuge. There is also a bar menu of cozy items such as sirloin sliders, grilled Creole shrimp with red beans and rice and andouille, and liver and onions with applewood-smoked bacon and mashed potatoes.

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With all that to offer, it’s no wonder Café Thirty-A stays busy. Harriet says the original plan was to close from November to February every year, and to “never work another New Year’s Eve,” but that didn’t happen. Except for a brief closure due to a fire right after Hurricane Opal in 1995, Café Thirty-A has been open year-round, even when many other restaurants are closed for the season—something that has endeared it to locals. Things keep getting busier. Harriet notes one of the biggest differences between the time the restaurant opened and now is Owner Harriet Crommelin that there are more people year-round. She wonders, “What happened to shoulder season? October is like the Fourth of July.” On a recent evening this winter, 250 people were served. The same night one year earlier hosted 164. Harriet is clearly proud of her restaurant. She says, “We are consistent and we have the best food on 30-A.” When asked what she enjoys about owning a restaurant, her response: “Welcoming people into my home.” When I dine at Café Thirty-A, it indeed feels like home. I fondly remember my dad and the joy he got from spending time there. I lift my glass in a silent toast, which is appropriate, because Café Thirty-A is all about family.

See the local recipes section in this issue of VIE to learn how to make Café Thirty-A’s famous roasted beet salad with orange vinaigrette! You can also find more recipes in the upcoming cookbook 30A Eats: The New Florida Table by Susan Benton with photos by Jack Gardner. Visit to learn more. 134 | M A R C H /A P R I L 2 015

A Jewelry & Accessory Boutique

A Jewelry & Accessory Boutique

L’Amour Crisscut® is a trademark of Christopher Designs. US and International Patent 800.955.0970 •

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Roasted Beet Salad with Orange Vinaigrette By Café Thirty-A //

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If you thought all salads were created equal—with lettuce—think again!

ingredients 2 1/2 cups pecans 3/4 cup bourbon or rum 1/2 cup sugar 1/4 cup brown sugar 3 ounces honey 8 whole fresh beets 3 sprigs fresh rosemary 2 to 3 ounces fresh ginger 1 cup red wine vinegar 3 1/2 cups water

1 1/2 cups sugar 4 ounces blood orange puree 1 ounce lemon juice 1 1/2 cups Dijon mustard 2 cups olive oil 1 head napa cabbage, julienned 1 head radicchio, julienned Crumbled blue cheese to taste Salt and pepper to taste

preparation Candied pecans Place bourbon (or rum), 1/2 cup sugar, 1/4 cup brown sugar, and 1 ounce of honey into a saucepan. Burn off alcohol and dissolve sugars until clear. Toss 2 cups of pecans in liquid. Spread pecans onto a sheet pan and roast in oven at 350 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes. Beets Place beets, rosemary, ginger, red wine vinegar, 2 cups of water, and 1 1/2 cups sugar in a roasting pan. Cover and place in 350-degree oven for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Drain beets, set aside to cool, and then peel. Blood orange vinaigrette Place blood orange puree, 1 1/2 cups of water, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, 2 ounces honey, and 2 cups olive oil in a blender. Add salt and pepper to taste and puree. Slowly add olive oil until well blended. Slaw Toss napa cabbage, radicchio, crumbled blue cheese, and 1/2 cup pecans together with enough blood orange vinaigrette to lightly dress the greens. Assemble the salad by placing a mound of slaw on each plate. Top with sliced beets and garnish with a little more crumbled blue cheese, pecans, and blood orange vinaigrette. Serves eight.

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Grouper Nicoise By Borago Restaurant //

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This melt-in-your-mouth grouper dish makes an elegant entrée for any dinner party!



8-ounce grouper fillet 3 to 4 artichoke hearts 3 to 4 kalamata olives 3 to 4 roma tomatoes, roasted 1 teaspoon garlic, finely chopped White wine to taste 2 tablespoons butter Salt and pepper to taste Fresh herbs to taste (basil, rosemary, parsley)

Sauté the grouper fillet in a skillet with oil until tender and golden brown, adding salt and pepper as desired. Add the teaspoon of garlic, artichoke hearts, olives, tomatoes, and fresh herbs. Deglaze with white wine, reduce, and add butter. Serve over sautéed haricots verts (green beans) and mashed potatoes to complete the entrée. Serves one.

Almond-Crusted Red Snapper with smoked tomato cream & vanilla sweet potatoes

By Old Florida Fish House //

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This tasty seafood entrée offers a new take on red snapper.

ingredients 2 8-ounce skinless snapper fillets Mayonnaise 1 cup almond pieces 1/4 cup flour 1 tablespoon kosher salt 4 tomatoes

1 tablespoon hot sauce Pinch of fresh oregano 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream 3 medium sweet potatoes 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 8 tablespoons butter

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 tablespoon brown sugar 4 tablespoons olive oil Salt and pepper to taste

preparation Fish Score fish if the skin is still on. To make the almond crust, put almonds, flour, and 1 tablespoon kosher salt in a food processor and pulse until powdered. To make the sauce, slice 4 tomatoes and char on a grill or in a hot cast-iron skillet. Place charred tomatoes with 1 tablespoon of your favorite hot sauce and a pinch of oregano in a food processor and puree. Put pureed mixture in a saucepan and cook down by half, then add a half cup of heavy cream. Reduce by half again, then whisk in 4 tablespoons of butter. Rub snapper with a light coating of mayonnaise on flesh side of the fillet and apply almond crust mixture until covered. In a large skillet, heat 4 tablespoons of olive oil on medium heat and lay fish in it with the almond-crusted side down. When browned, flip fish and cook until done through. Sweet potatoes Peel sweet potatoes and boil until soft. Strain potatoes and add cinnamon, 4 tablespoons of butter, 4 tablespoons of cream, vanilla extract, brown sugar, and salt and pepper to taste. Let cream and butter get hot and mash all ingredients together. Serves two.

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Tuna Rillettes By Bijoux Destin //

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This harissa-infused tuna dip makes a great appetizer that will spice up any get-together!

ingredients 1 pound yellowfin tuna belly, cured and smoked 2 cups mayonnaise 2 1/2 tablespoons harissa paste 2 teaspoons lemon juice 1 teaspoon chopped garlic Salt and pepper to taste

preparation Tuna belly should be available at your local fish market. Trim all blood lines and skin away; discard. Cover lightly in kosher salt, secure in a container with a few paper towels underneath, wrap in plastic wrap, and place in the refrigerator overnight. Remove tuna the next day, wash remaining cure off and blot dry with paper towels. Arrange a conventional or stovetop smoker with hickory wood chips. Smoke the tuna over medium heat for 30 to 40 minutes. It should be cooked all the way through. Let cool. Break tuna into smaller pieces with your hands and combine with remaining ingredients in a food processor. Blend until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Pack into chilled bowls or ramekins and enjoy with baked or fried pita chips, toasted bread, or just a spoon! Serves two to four.

Consistently Delicious for 20 Years! Recommended on


3899 East Scenic Hwy. 30A, Seagrove Beach · 850.231.2166 · Online Reservations · All Major Credit Cards · Open Daily At 5

Daily 2-for-1 Entrées · ’Tini Night · BOGO

Smoked Tomato and Shrimp Soup By Chef Tim Creehan //

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One of Chef Creehan’s signature dishes, this soup is sure to warm you up on a cool evening!

ingredients 2 yellow onions 4 tomatoes 1/3 pound chopped bacon 3 cups canned Italian plum tomatoes 3 cups tomato sauce or puree 1/2 cup tomato paste

2 canned chipotle peppers in adobo 1 1/2 quarts chicken stock 1/4 cup sugar 2 cups heavy whipping cream 1 pound steamed shrimp (70–90 count)

1/4 cup chopped parsley or chive stems Salt and pepper to taste

preparation Sprinkle a smoker with soaked hickory chips and preheat. Cut the onions in half and place them and the whole tomatoes on the smoker rack. Smoke over low heat for 30 minutes, allow to cool, and then chop. Sauté the bacon in a heavy soup pot. Add the onions, tomatoes, and garlic. Cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the Italian plum tomatoes, tomato sauce or puree, tomato paste, chipotle peppers, chicken stock, and sugar. Mix well. Simmer for 20 minutes. Process the mixture in batches in a blender or food processor until smooth. Combine the mixture in the soup pot and stir in the cream. Season with salt and pepper and heat to serving temperature. Ladle the soup into soup bowls and top with steamed shrimp and chopped parsley or chive stems. Feel free to substitute a seafood of your choice for the shrimp in this versatile soup! Serves twelve.

Backdown Roll By Harbor Docks Seafood and Cocktails //

ingredients h a r b o r d o c k s . co m

Impress your guests with this delicious sushi roll as an appetizer or main course!

Sushi rolling mat 1/2 sheet nori 1/4 cup cooked rice 1 tablespoon cream cheese 1/2 teaspoon spicy sauce Shrimp, cooked and chopped into small pieces 1 cucumber, julienned 1 avocado, sliced

2 ounces fresh yellowfin tuna, sliced into 1-inch strips 2 ounces crab salad 1 green onion, chopped Wasabi to taste Pickled ginger to taste Soy sauce to taste

preparation Place nori on top of a rolling mat and spread rice evenly over the seaweed by pressing with wet fingertips. Flip the seaweed so that the rice is on the bottom. Place cream cheese and spicy sauce in a horizontal line across center of the seaweed paper, then arrange portions of the shrimp and cucumber in a horizontal line alongside the cream cheese. Roll the sushi tightly with the sushi mat to form a neatly packed cylinder. Squeeze firmly to make sure the sushi roll is tightly packed, but don’t squeeze too hard. Add the avocado in a line across the top of the sushi. Place the sushi mat over the top of the roll and squeeze the roll gently to press in the avocado. Cut the tuna across the grain and lay pieces on top of the roll with the avocado. Squeeze the roll with the sushi mat again, gently, to keep the tuna in place. Cut each sushi roll into eight pieces using a sharp, damp knife. Remoisten the knife after each cut. Garnish with crab salad and green onions and serve with wasabi, ginger, and soy sauce. Makes eight pieces.

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Southwest Chop Salad By Another Broken Egg Cafe //

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With its savory flavors and array of colors, this dish is sure to impress and satisfy!

ingredients 3 cups romaine lettuce, cut into 1/4-inch strips 1 cup spinach, cut into 1/4-inch strips 2 tablespoons black beans, drained 1/4 cup sliced portobello mushrooms 1 slice bacon, cooked and coarsely chopped 1/4 cup diced red onion 1/4 cup hickory-smoked turkey, sliced to 1/16-inch thickness Handful of crispy tortilla strips 2 sliced tomatoes 4 slices avocado Chipotle ranch (or your favorite ranch-style dressing), to taste

preparation Mix romaine lettuce, spinach, black beans, mushrooms, bacon, and red onions in a large salad bowl. Add desired amount of chipotle ranch or other dressing and top with crispy tortilla strips. Garnish the dish with tomato and avocado slices and enjoy! Serves one.


New Executive Chef Thomas Stukenborg


Pecan-Crusted Grouper By Local Catch //

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A Southern-inspired favorite—this isn’t your typical grouper dish!

ingredients 6-ounce grouper fillet 1/2 an onion, finely diced 1 cup whole pecans 3 ounces amaretto 2 teaspoons brown sugar 2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream

2 cups all-purpose flour 3 eggs Vegetable oil 2 teaspoons salted butter 1 teaspoon garlic Salt and pepper to taste

preparation Candied pecans Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix half cup of whole pecans with brown sugar and place on a sheet pan and bake for 15 minutes. Set aside and let pecans cool until dish is complete. Pecan sauce Mix the remaining half cup of pecans with diced onion in a food processor; pulse until chopped to a fine consistency. With a little oil, sauté onion and pecan mixture until pecans are roasted and the onions are translucent. Add the amaretto and allow ingredients to deglaze the pan. Finally, add cream, 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning, and salt and pepper. Let the cream reduce by one third. Grouper Combine flour and 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning in a medium-sized bowl. Break three eggs into another medium-sized bowl. Take the grouper and cover in seasoned flour, then completely cover the grouper in the egg wash. Let the extra egg wash drip off, and then generously cover grouper in the seasoned flour again on both sides. In a hot sauté pan, add vegetable oil (just enough to coat the bottom of the sauté pan), and then add butter. Once butter and oil are hot, lay fish in the sauté pan and cook for about three minutes or until golden brown. Flip the fish and finish in the oven for five minutes or until golden brown on both sides. Cover with pecan-butter sauce and candied pecans. Serves one.

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Ginger Martini By Basmati’s Asian Cuisine //

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This refreshing twist on a vodka martini (shaken, not stirred) is sure to mix things up!



3 ounces Rain Organics vodka 1 1/2 ounces Stone’s Ginger Wine 1 fresh lime, sliced

Line a chilled martini glass with honey. Mix vodka and ginger wine over ice in a martini shaker. Shake briskly, then strain into the glass and garnish with a lime. Cheers!

TasTe The modern side of mexican cuisine

Sip the finest margarita Savor fresh seafood, enchiladas and more with sauces from scratch Join us for drinks, dinner, lunch or Sunday brunch

new Pollo mango mole

Grand Boulevard sandestin 850.654.5649

License # CGC1515280

A Testimonial Alan built my house in Seaside in 1992. The ultimate compliment is to hire the same builder to build a second home for you. I did and I will hire him to build a third. I think that says it all. If you’re considering building do yourself a huge favor and talk to Ficarra Builders.

Ken Scoggins

228 Market St. | Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459 | 850.267.2898 | w w w.ficarr


One of the first questions people ask when they visit our area is “How can we be sure we’re getting fresh seafood?” That’s an excellent question. There is a good chance that the seafood you will be offered traveled farther than you did. In the state of Florida, even though we are surrounded by water, more than 90% of the seafood sold this year will be imported from other countries. Throughout the United States, the huge majority of seafood is imported. Most of it is mislabeled. Frozen seafood is sold as “fresh” and imported seafood is sold as “local.” According to Oceana, 93% of fish sold as red snapper is actually some other species. 57% of tuna sold at sushi bars throughout the country is not tuna. Most of the tilapia served in this country comes from Viet Nam and Thailand and much of it is farmed in waters with sewage run-off and the source of feed is pig feces.

Harbor Docks has been selling fish through its wholesale market since 1981. We sell to markets across the United States and Canada. We also sell to select restaurants along the Gulf Coast. Harbor Docks contracts with over 100 commercial boats to insure that we have an adequate supply of fresh fish. We invite you to dine at our restaurants – Harbor Docks, in the heart of Destin, and Camille’s, overlooking the Gulf in Crystal Beach. But we’d also encourage you to try any of the wonderful, independent, local restaurants in our area that are committed to serving Florida seafood. We know who they are, because we sell them their fish.

check our website to find out which restaurants sell certified Gulf-to-Table fish from harbor Docks Seafood market. DES TIN , FL | 850. 837. 2506 | h a r b o r D o c k S .co m S E A F O O D & C O C K TA I L S

Snapper and Tuna stats: Imported seafood stat: Tilapia/pig feces:



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WHETHER YOU’RE LOOKING FOR A PRIVATE CHEF TO PREPARE A SPECIAL DINNER IN YOUR HOME OR A CULINARY HOST FOR A WINE TASTING AND FOOD PAIRING EVENT AT AN EXQUISITE AND INTIMATE VENUE, CHEF NIKHIL ABUVALA AND ROUX 30A HAVE THE TALENT, EXPERIENCE, AND SPACE THAT YOU DESIRE. Abuvala, having come from generations of chefs and cooks, grew up with a deep appreciation and respect for food. Whether inherited or learned, his passion led him to begin his culinary career at the early age of thirteen. After diving into a vast array of cuisines—from sushi to Creole, Indian to Mediterranean—Abuvala found a focus for his craft under the instruction of Chef Dean James Max. Driven by Max and his chefs de cuisine, Paula DaSilva and Jeremy Ford, Chef Abuvala developed a deeper understanding and knowledge of the modern American palate along with an even greater passion for food. Abuvala opened Roux 30a in beautiful Grayton Beach in the spring of 2014. Roux 30a was founded on the idea of creating symbiotic relationships between the local farmers and fishermen and the entire community of South Walton and

beyond. Roux 30a has introduced a modern and original perspective on dining to the 30-A area and the Emerald Coast region as a whole. As if that’s not enough, this talented young chef offers an intimate dining experience in the Roux 30a venue itself. This gorgeous yet quaint location features 1,200 square feet of event space, a state-ofthe-art kitchen, custom-designed decor (the chef designed the chandeliers himself ), and exquisite distressed-wood farm tables. The venue allows up to thirty guests for a comfortably seated dining experience. Or the tables can be removed to hold a cocktail party for many more guests. There is also an outdoor space that can be tented. This beautiful and unique venue is the perfect setting for dinner parties, bridal showers, craft beer pairings, wine tastings, and more. “We are family owned and operated,” says Chef Abuvala. “When we were designing the concept for Roux, we wanted to bring a warm and inviting atmosphere together with modern upscale cuisine. I believe what we have created is completely unique and offers an unforgettable experience. The venue is exceptional on its own; however, the tablescapes and floral decor done by my mother, Candace, add an extra wow factor that really stands out when you walk through the door.” The Roux 30a experience extends beyond the venue. Chef Abuvala and his team offer in-home meal preparation and personal meal delivery, bringing seaside-inspired modern cuisine directly to the client. Roux 30a’s services also include cooking classes, private menu tastings, and catering at local venues.

Photo by Marcus Walton

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Photo by Marcus Walton

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Photo by Marcus Walton

Roux 30a showcases a series called “Around the World,” which features multicourse menus from different cultures across the globe. Each dinner focuses on a specific country or cuisine, highlighting the rich flavors and ingredients found in that region and bringing them right here to the Emerald Coast. To date, Roux 30a has taken guests on culinary adventures through India, Morocco, Spain, France, Japan, and Vietnam. Chef Abuvala and the entire team at Roux 30a are also very committed to giving back to the community. They have worked with local charities such as Food For Thought, Inc., Sinfonia Gulf Coast, Destin Charity Wine Auction Foundation, and Alaqua Animal Refuge, just to name a few. “I am excited and humbled to be part of this amazing community where everyone supports each other,” shares Chef Abuvala. “I look forward to the future of Roux 30a and the company’s growth in this unique region.”

For more information about Chef Nikhil Abuvala or Roux 30a, visit them online at To book the Roux 30a venue or speak with a team member, call (850) 213-0899. Also, you can find them on Facebook at Roux 30a.

A Destination Shopping Experience


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Chef Nikhil Abuvala and the team at Roux 30a hosted and prepared an incredible dinner as part of Sinfonia Gulf Coast’s Wine, Women and Shoes fund-raiser this year. The menu featured exquisite culinary creations such as sour plum salad, pan-seared grouper, and Courvoisier-marinated chocolate sponge cake, all paired with wines by Susan Arbios of Arbios Cellars.

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As Point Washington’s only spa retreat takes shape, Dr. Eric Scheufler and Eve Emelianova show us how to take a bite of a very scrumptious apple. Though the idea of a twenty-first century Garden of Eden may seem like a faraway dream, leave it to oral surgeon Dr. Eric Scheufler and artist Eve Emelianova to transform it into an urban reality. Eric describes East of Eden as “a retreat, a garden, a gallery, a spa, and a yoga studio,” while Eve explains it as “a way of living—one that speaks to the mind, body, and spirit.” Their opposing mindsets make for robust debates between the rogue scientist and the esoteric artist, but Eric and Eve are devout in their shared mission. Who better to bring healing and inspiration to the community than this duo, who share individual passions on sacred ground? Surrounded by trees between the waters of the Gulf of Mexico and Choctawhatchee Bay, and resting on four acres in the coveted Point Washington State Park, East of Eden is the ultimate escape for any nature lover looking for comfort and luxury, the perfect hideaway from the beach or city, and an abundance of privacy. The art of effortlessly balancing a medical practice and a spiritual experience for their guests is a year-round endeavor that Eric and Eve have perfected since opening East of Eden two years ago. “Our vision was to create a place for a healing experience that is surrounded by nature,” says Eric. “I initially loved the property because of the trees, the proximity to the bayou, and the relative obscurity.”

EVE Born in Russia as Evgenia Emelanova in 1979, Eve Emelianova studied Roman-Germanic philology with a major in English and German. The trained interpreter/translator always had a passion for foreign cultures and a talent for interpersonal communication. “My love for travel led me to the United States in 2005, and I changed my name to Eve,” she recalls. “It was a leap of faith to go from Moscow, where I worked as the personal assistant to Russia’s former minister of customs, to the tiny, beautiful coastal Florida village of Seagrove, where I embraced the

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roles of wife and mother. I did not really know why I made that move; I just followed some kind of inner pull.” As it turned out, a decade later, Eve would become an integral force in the world’s first New Urbanist towns, of which East of Eden is undoubtedly a part. “To me, East of Eden is more than just a retreat, a spa, and a yoga studio—it is a place where my inner shift happened,” Eve expounds. “It happened not only to me, but I see it in so many people who have spent some time here. It is such a delight to hear a first-time yoga student share excitedly his or her experience, to see them come back and bring their friends, or to host a tired traveler at one of our cozy rentals and hear them say they do not want to go back home.”

ERIC “I became an oral surgeon because I wanted a greater combination of medicine and dentistry, and it also gave me greater opportunities and job diversity for the future,” says Dr. Eric Scheufler, who grew up in the Midwest and moved to Pensacola, Florida, ten years ago to open his first dental practice. Eric was accepted into a landscape architecture school in Utah and had originally intended to become an art major, which explains the beautifully landscaped gardens at Eden. “I didn’t really have a master plan on how to design the grounds; I just created them.” Like any everyday genius, Eric’s mind bounces from one project to the next, but unlike many, his projects actually come to fruition. His interests are broad and varied. An art collector, Eric’s first art purchase occurred in New Orleans in 1996 when he was in medical school. “It was called Souls East Souls West,” he says. “When I look at it, it takes me back. I remember being in medical school, where I felt like I was losing my creativity due to the mundane process of residency. I felt very lost at this time of my life, and that painting helped me make sense of it all.” East of Eden houses much of Eric’s art collection, including paintings by David Harouni, Allison Wickey, and Justin Gaffrey. “I also have several pieces of art by my very talented niece, Shannon Cooke, who is a naturally gifted artist. She is also an English teacher at South Walton High School.” Shannon is the artist behind the original Sunrise through the Trees mural inside the Eden Yoga Dome. Eric is also a car collector. “I have a 1972 Chevy pickup, a 1964 Lincoln convertible, and a 1968 Lincoln limousine,” he says. He forgot to mention the 1986 Blue Bird Wanderlodge RV, which is currently being remodeled. “I think that the limousine is my favorite; it’s of museum quality, has an interesting history, and is completely untouched and in original condition.” Eric also appreciates an Airstream trailer. Two of them sit on the grounds of Eden. “They are being retrofitted into elegant bungalows for short-term stays; they feature claw-foot tubs.”

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“There’s a center of quietness within, which has to be known and held. Know thyself.” Just when you might think Eric has enough on his plate, he introduces a barn to Eden. “I love old barns,” he says. “I remember them well growing up in the Midwest.” Eric’s plan for a barn at Eden includes two loft apartments and a large open area for events, from weddings to yoga retreats. “It will be a large eighty-by-thirty-five-foot gambrel-style barn built in a historic pattern that replicates the way they were built in the past.” He will also be incorporating different aspects of agriculture associated with barns and farming. “We will have beekeeping, fruiting trees, plants, and aquaponics—all in an organic fashion. We are also in early talks with Jenifer Kuntz of Raw and Juicy to incorporate a kitchen for healthy food on the property.”

LAURA “Laughter is the best stretch!” instructor Laura Bailey muses, as morning sunlight filters through the open window inside East of Eden’s Yoga Dome. The reflection of natural light off of the white domed ceiling illuminates the altar, where lighted candles and photos of gurus from India are flanked in front of a mirror that holds a reflection of the majestic oak trees outside. Laura has just finished a grueling one-hour workout with her students. Known for her creative yoga sequencing, Laura is not your typical yoga instructor; a class with her leaves you feeling that you might actually be in training to become a yoga master. “The athlete who is in top form has a quiet place inside himself, and it’s around this that his movements occur,” Laura explains. “My classes take students on a journey inward to find and hold that center so that the action originates from the core.” Once you get there, which miraculously happens within the first ten minutes of class, Laura effortlessly guides you through a series of intelligent sequencing to an energetic vinyasa flow that feels like a choreographed dance. “Within a few months of continuous practice you’ll 156 | M A R C H /A P R I L 2 015

begin to see the beauty and grace of your yoga and, more importantly, your true self,” Laura says. It’s her compassion that is key to making her students feel comfortable. From the beginners to the experienced yogis, Laura has a gift for connecting singular students to the larger whole. “When the breath and body are synchronized with the mind, the practice becomes a meditation in action. With this movement, you lose nothing but your limitations and you can participate at any level.” The result is a startling feeling of triumph, as if you have climbed Mount Everest with the snap of Laura’s fingers. “There’s a center of quietness within, which has to be known and held,” Laura says. “Know thyself.”

CINDY Cindy L’Abbe moved to Florida’s Emerald Coast in the early 1960s. She and her husband have made their permanent home among the scrub oaks, magnolias, and saw palmettos in a coastal dune lake community along Scenic Highway 30-A. As a teacher and guide, she is passionate about integrating deep compassion and contemplative time in nature with the arts in order to achieve spiritual growth. Her guidance is a means for individuals to rediscover, embrace, and live soul-centered lives. Cindy has spent the past twenty years immersed in wild, uninhabited places studying and learning the means to integrate the interdisciplinary fields of eco-psychology, nature-based soul development, and contemplative and ancient wisdom traditions. Many of these studies involved up to two-week overnight intensives deeply immersed in the wilds throughout the United States. Cindy holds degrees from George Washington University (BA) and Florida State University (MS) in the fields of education, human development, clinical mental health, and human social structures. Her graduate studies included additional certifications in the fields of trauma and the arts. She is also certified as a Florida Master Naturalist.

THE SOUL OF EDEN When it comes to the soul of East of Eden, Eve draws inspiration from Cindy. “Since early childhood, I experienced a deep connection with Point Washington State Forest and the Eden area,” Cindy says. “I was fascinated when I learned that a retreat had been established here. Throughout my life, I’ve tried to pay attention to what resonates, to what calls to me and says, ‘Pay attention to this.’ So, I immediately called and accepted an invitation to view the retreat, and that’s when I met Eric and Eve. V IE Z INE .C OM | 157

to be safely guided into shadow work. Here, they are able to knowingly enter the underworld journey and safely pass through what seasoned depth psychologists understand as ‘the dark night of the soul.’” Cindy further expounds, “In the dark night of the soul, we have the opportunity to mine for the gold within our own psyches—psyche is the Greek word for ‘soul.’ We begin to remember the soul’s essence through contemplative walks and extended time in nature and wild, uninhabited places. If we are guided to weave in and out of this soul journey and we are able to immerse ourselves in nature and the healing arts, all of these practices have the potential to lead us to our inner spirit, which ultimately guides us to transcendence.

“For us to mature as humans, we are challenged to take an inward journey that is necessary for our souls’ growth.” “When I pulled into Eden for the first time, I sat in awe under the majestic oaks. As I stepped onto the grounds, every fiber of my being said, ‘This is it!’ Someone had created a sanctuary not only for the mind, body, and spirit, but also for the often-neglected development of the soul. This is a place where the work of stepping into the light, developing higher consciousness, deepening one’s faith, and tending to our bodies and soul can be embraced while immersed in nature.”

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Cindy is right, adds Eve, who explains, “For us to mature as humans, we are challenged to take an inward journey that is necessary for our souls’ growth. Yet our religious, mental health, cultural, and social structures often do not support this process.” For those thrust into this process, there are even fewer venues to serve as the sacred place needed to navigate this journey. “Eden offers learning opportunities and professional guides, like Cindy, for our guests

“Here in the Southeast and throughout the world in Christian teachings, the connection to the Holy Spirit resonates; and everyone knows the biblical story, beginning with Genesis and the Garden of Eden. We recognize with ease that any place referred to as Eden or the Garden of Eden is a sacred space, and it brings to our visual and spiritual senses a place of natural beauty, peace, and innocence. Eden is a place to be and to return to. When Eve bit the apple, it was considered the fall of man, which is a metaphor for stepping onto the path of connecting to a higher power. This is the essence of East of Eden. It is a wonderfully unique retreat where one is able to learn, grow, and heal at all levels necessary in becoming whole.” “It couldn’t be more true,” says Eve, as Eric nods in agreement. He adds, “What I value most is that the end result of what Eden becomes will depend on the people that come together as a result of it. It’s rewarding to watch it all unfold.”

THE FACES OF EDEN ½ Dr. Eric Scheufler, owner, DMD, MD, PA, oral and maxillofacial surgeon, and antiaging therapist ½ Eve Emelianova Blair, creative director, director of operations, and licensed aesthetician ½ Cindy L’Abbe, clinically educated and trained psychotherapist, naturalist, and trauma specialist ½ Michele “MJ Yogi” Jorge, acupuncture physician and Hatha yoga instructor ½ Marie Boularand, certified naturopath, emotional healing, and bio-decoding expert ½ Laura Bailey, yoga vinyasa flow instructor ½ Nancy Gross, gentle yoga instructor and Ayurveda ½ Tammy Binkley and Shantaya, Bhakti flow instructors ½ Kevin O’Brien, roots yoga instructor ½ Jenifer Kuntz of Raw & Juicy, nutritionist and detox specialist ½ Shanda Beste, inner chi specialist ½ Prudence F. Bruns, PhD, Transcendental Meditation and Ayurveda ½ Joel Mitchell, myofascial release therapist ½ Natalie Ittu, hairstylist ½ Elizabeth O’Brien, licensed massage therapist and awakening session therapist

THE SPACES OF EDEN ½ The Zen Gardens ½ The Carriage House ½ The Yoga Dome ½ The Loft ½ The Apartment


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½ Two Airstream Trailers ½ Saltwater Pool ½ Fire Pit and Outdoor Pizza Oven ½ The Dock ½ The Pool

THE SERVICES AT EDEN ½ Educational workshops, lectures, and seminars ½ Therapeutic massage ½ Botanical facials ½ Antiaging procedures ½ Acupuncture ½ Naturopathic consultations ½ Emotional healing and German medicine-based biodecoding ½ Traditional Finnish sauna and aromatherapy ½ Wet steam therapy and chromotherapy ½ Various styles of yoga

To learn more, or to book your retreat, visit CGC # 1509111

110 Logan Ln., Suite 3 Santa Rosa Beach, FL


A Serendipitous Road T H E A RT O F D E S I G N I N G H A N D B A G S

By Tori Phelps Photography by Zachary Gray

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C E R I H O O V E R’S S I G NAT U R E U N F U S S Y H A N D BA G S A R E R E D E F I N I N G M O D E R N C H I C I N MU S I C C I T Y A N D A C R O S S T H E C O U N T RY. Several years ago, Ceri Hoover accidentally created a handbag. In February, her bags were carried by every 2015 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue model at the magazine’s Nashville launch event. This meteoric rise isn’t the result of hype, nor is it a fad. Ceri Hoover bags are the real deal: simply designed, impeccably crafted, and available at real-girl prices. Ceri (rhymes with Mary) is the real deal, too—not only immensely talented, but also utterly likeable and charmingly humble. The fact that this is her life still baffles the hell out of Ceri, but she’s trying to get used to it. A Navy kid who grew up in North Carolina’s Outer Banks, Ceri settled in Seaside, Florida, where she met and married her husband, Craige. Soon after the arrival of their son, Luke, now six, they decided it was time to move to a bigger city. With Craige growing up outside of Nashville and Ceri being inexplicably drawn to the city since childhood, there was no question about where they would relocate. When she arrived in Nashville, Ceri was still figuring out how to satisfy her need to create. She had become obsessed with interior design blogs while pregnant, spending her days studying fabrics, learning to sew, and eventually even taking on small design jobs herself. One day, while making a leather pillow cover, she folded it

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over and had an epiphany. “I realized, ‘Oh, my gosh— this is a clutch,’” she says. “I cranked out five or six immediately, shared them with people, and here I am.” There may have been another step or two in there, but the company’s evolution was nearly that straightforward. After people began snapping up every design she posted online, stores clamored to carry her bags (about two hundred stores at last count). To give her more workspace—and shoppers a hands-on experience—Ceri opened her own studio two years ago in Nashville’s design mecca of Marathon Village. From here, she creates bags with clean lines that let the quality, texture, and color of the leather speak for themselves. “I want them to be like the bags you pull out of your grandmother’s closet and wear for the rest of your life, getting compliments every time,” she explains. Thanks to the exceptional leather she works with, her bags could indeed become heirloom pieces. Ceri is open to working with other materials at some point, but leather clearly lights her fire. She talks about the way it looks and smells as though she’s describing a lover and says she knows exactly how it moves on her sewing machine. Plus, she appreciates that leather is a lot like Nashville itself: classic with a little edge. Her minimalistic designs, sometimes absent even a fastener, are a reflection of Ceri’s own low-key aesthetic.


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Judging by the company’s sales, this “less is more” philosophy certainly seems to resonate with other women. Ceri’s personal favorite, a simple pintuck clutch, is connecting with customers in a big way, thanks to details like the namesake pintucking down both sides and snapless, fold-over styling. Her hottest seller right now is the Hadley, a cross-body bag that transforms into a clutch via removable straps. Its popularity is an indication to Ceri of what’s important to women today: options. She delivers those options, plus a whole lot more, at highly accessible price points. Even Ceri admits she could charge more for her designs, but she doesn’t want to. “I design for myself, and I know what I would be able to spend on a bag,” she explains. “Higher price points seem flashy, and that’s not who I am.” Thank goodness for that, says friend and frequent customer Sunny Spyridon. A fan of Ceri’s bags before she was a fan of the woman, Sunny was hooked with her very first purchase: a Hadley bag in cobalt suede and camel leather. “Everywhere I wore it, people commented on that bag,” she recalls. That purchase led to, well, more than a few more. It also led to a genuine friendship. Praising her easy spirit and sense of style, Sunny says Ceri’s creativity and insistence on quality make her refreshing on many levels. So when Sunny was asked to recruit local designers to participate in creating the VIP bags for the Sports Illustrated models, her first choice was Ceri. “It was a no-brainer,” she states. “I wanted the very best from our local fashion community.” Being one of only five designers in Nashville asked to participate was a huge compliment, Ceri says. The fact that the request came from Sunny—who Ceri describes as the epitome of the classic, stylish woman she designs for—was a bonus. And she doesn’t exactly mind that her Sayville Weekender tote, purchased for each of the twenty-six models, was front and center for the event. The 2015 Swimsuit Issue celebration, which took place February 11 and 12, was also a big coup for Nashville, a city that seems to be on everyone’s radar. It’s attracting new chefs, designers, and artists to an already legendary music culture. The result, Ceri says, is an atmosphere that benefits everyone who’s part of that creative scene.

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Ceri herself is an integral part of that, Sunny believes. “Being a native of Nashville, I’m really drawn to and inspired by the people who make this city a better place to live, work, play, and visit,” she explains. “Ceri’s work and her spirit are a huge part of what makes this such a great time for our city.” Longtime friend Laurie Dodd isn’t surprised that Ceri is tearing up Nashville’s design scene. Before people wanted her handbags, they wanted her input on everything from home decorating to their wardrobes. Still, Laurie is glad her pal branched out. “My style is very casual, yet I carry my essentials with a bit of polish thanks to Ceri.” Inspiration for her designs can come from anywhere, especially in Nashville. From art galleries to everyday objects like vases, there’s no “off ” button for the design part of her brain. It can be tiring, but it’s also what leads her to the next big thing. Ceri’s latest big thing is a bag design that’s likely to debut in the fall. As much as she wants to jump into production immediately, her maximum-capacity

she hears that her bootstrap story has inspired others. “I love that people are starting ventures of their own because of self-taught people like me,” she says. Further proving that self-taught isn’t second best, Ceri was named this year’s winner of the Nashville Fashion Forward Fund. The award, presented by the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee, came as a huge shock to her. “It never crossed my mind—ever— that I would win an award in the design world,” she confesses.

workload won’t let her. She’ll just leave you with a tease. “It’s more structured,” she previews. “It’s a different look but still has very clean lines; I’m trying to keep the hardware off completely.” No doubt fans will greet the new bag with the same enthusiasm they have her previous designs. The near-instant acclaim Ceri experienced, from both fashion big wigs and “normal” women, has been slightly overwhelming for the admitted introvert. But she’s also humbled and grateful for the reception, especially when

The honor comes with a bit of prize money, which she intends to put toward a trip to Italy to research shoe manufacturers. Because— surprise—that’s an up-and-coming big thing. Shoes are a personal passion (“I love them so much,” she gushes), but she also believes they’re a natural expansion for her product line. The designs, of course, will be minimalistic but high quality, a combination that’s increasingly rare. And she just happens to have plenty of leather lying around for her future collection of flats, loafers, clogs, and flip-flops. Hers is one of the biggest success stories in Nashville—in the handbag design world, really—in the last couple of years. The woman who never consciously decided to become a designer has won devoted fans and built an award-winning line. But best of all, she’s found her passion. “It’s been amazing,” Ceri says. “I’m loving it, and I’m really excited about that.”



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For the past five years, as I traveled between Northwest Florida’s Scenic Highway 30-A and New York City, I’ve longed to cultivate a look that’s all my own— a reflection of the beach towns that shaped my youth and my life as a gallerist and writer. Finding the perfect blend of the softness of the beach with the gritty reality of city life isn’t easy. Jumping off of the subway in NYC and into my Jeep near the Gulf of Mexico, sometimes all in the same day, calls for a wardrobe and a hairstyle that follow my movements without inhibiting them. Over the years, I’ve collected pieces from my favorite artists and boutiques in both places, and thanks to incredible hairstylists, I’ve managed to keep my beach tresses golden on the streets of Manhattan. All the while, I’ve longed for a fashion stylist who could bring the entire look together for me.

ANNE HUNTER Hat: Janessa Leone at Willow Boutique in Seaside, Florida Jewelry: Wendy Mignot Designs at La Vie Est Belle in Seaside Pants: 51INC Top: Stella McCartney Vest: Yigal Azrouël Bag: Nathalie Mignot at PachaMama Boutique in Sayulita, Mexico Hair: Fabrice Gili and Jennifer Albert at Frédéric Fekkai/Soho in NYC

A celebrity in her own right, New York stylist Allyson Longshore doesn’t forget her Southern roots. She was born and bred in Alabama and has spent many summers sunning on the Gulf of Mexico’s crystal-white beaches, so who better to master my “urban beach chic” look than this rockin’ style maven of Southern royalty who is fast becoming one of NYC’s most in-demand fashion talents? As VIE’s official fashion week stylist for the Autumn/ Winter 2015 show season, Longshore scouted the look for me, and we are affectionately calling it the New Urban—named in honor of the New Urbanism design movement that started on the shores of my Florida beach home with the birth of Seaside, Rosemary Beach, and Alys Beach. Together with their sister towns WaterColor, WaterSound, Grayton Beach, Blue Mountain Beach, Dune Allen Beach, Seacrest Beach, Seagrove Beach, and Inlet Beach, these unique coastal communities fashion a priceless pearl necklace strung together by the thread that is Scenic Highway 30-A. When I’m not home, I love taking a piece of it with me everywhere I go.



When I work with a new client at STYLESTUDIO, I start by seeking out their inspiration and then manage the process from start to finish. Often, a client will come to me feeling overwhelmed or simply needing guidance in finding the perfect thing to wear for a specific occasion such as a wedding, a cocktail party, or even something as extravagant as the Oscars. After a brief style consultation, I develop a customized look and provide everything the client needs—whether it is planning a shopping day in New York or pulling beautiful options and sending the pieces across the country so he or she can shop the latest and the most exclusive collections from home. My first step for defining “urban beach chic” for Anne was to peek inside my own closet. How did I make the transition from the Gulf of Mexico back to New York City? Which pieces worked in both places? It’s all about layering and finding pieces that can translate from glam city grit to cool breezy beach. Helping Anne hop off of the subway at the airport and then later into a sand-filled Jeep in Grayton Beach in style? No problem! I’ve been doing this for years!

ALLYSON LONGSHORE Hat: Maison Michel Coat: Norman Ambrose Pants: Stella McCartney Shoes: Yves Saint Laurent Bag: Yves Saint Laurent

I started scouting the look at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week while simultaneously pulling new pieces for Anne based on a beach lifestyle that we were both already living. Like the design movement along Scenic Highway 30-A, the New Urban style is all about soul and returning to your roots, incorporating authentic

clothing and accessories that have meaning in your life, and wearing them with style and grace. When I asked Anne for her inspirations, she said, “Start with my book.” After reading the first few pages, I zeroed in on an object mentioned in her writings that I was well familiar with: a golden pearl necklace designed by Wendy Mignot of Seaside, Florida. I first saw the Mignot pearls when I visited Café Rendez-vous in Ruskin Place at Seaside back in 2005, then again when they moved the café to Seaside’s Central Square. The pearls hold a deep meaning for Anne, so Mignot’s designs became my starting point as I began to imagine a whole new look for the fashion industry, one that was based on the beaches I grew up on and the city I now call home. I called Wendy Mignot and said, “It’s starting with your art, with your soul.” And that was the beginning of my process. Next, I hit the Fashion Week shows with a mission: to find my inner beach in the city! My first major inspiration was the Carolina Herrera show—Aranka Israni’s photographs certainly capture its essence. The entire collection was inspired by water, including fabrics textured with pixel images that resembled the element—totally New Urban. I loved Altuzarra’s show and, of course, Mara Hoffman’s. Her runway music always inspires me. This year the models strutted down the catwalk to techno reggae tunes while

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LINGERIE & SWIM Now Open at The Market Shops at Sandestin 850.837.2441 STORE.SIRENSATTHEBEACH.COM

sporting tangled mermaid braids and electric-hued mohair furs. It reminded me that there is another element that we are creating here. It isn’t just fashion— it’s also music, art, and hair—it all vibes together. Speaking of hair, I met with Fabrice Gili and Jennifer Albert from Frédéric Fekkai salon in New York to learn more about how they created Anne’s beach-city hair, and I also began reaching out to designers. One of them was Harbison. I loved that Harbison was so avant-garde with his primary color scheme this year; it was very bold, yet there was a simplicity to it. Another was Susan Easton, founder and creative director of From the Road. I asked her what her thoughts were about an authentic New Urban style that is steeped in heritage techniques. I felt that Susan was the perfect inspiration for Anne, Scenic Highway 30-A, and the New Urban. Her limitededition collaborations with master artisans from around the world, her love of indigenous cultures, and her passion for creating beautiful objects with soul all exemplify the new definition of luxury. There is much more to come! We’ve hit the ground running, and over the next few months, our VIE fashion week team will be working together to introduce a new movement in fashion. Stay tuned!

700 Pier Park Drive Panama City Beach, FL (850) 233-2141

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BurwellAssociates 114 Logan Lane, Suite 4. Grayton Beach, Florida 32459 P. 850.231.6377 F. 850.231.6375 E.

Lic number AR-0017641





















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t really was incredible. From the moment we stepped off the plane, I knew it would be a trip to remember. It wasn’t just any trip to New York; it was a trip to Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week—Fashion Week! Those words alone are enough to make most girls squeal with delight. I had been to Miami for the MBFW Swim shows and streamed runway videos of my favorite designers at home, but seeing the magic of it all come together with meticulous designs, beyond-beautiful models, celebrities perched in the front row, and bloggers I stalk—er, I mean follow on Instagram was like the first time my preteen self witnessed the perfect outfit assembled in Clueless. It was pure awe and love at first sight! Our South Walton Fashion Week team had the privilege of attending on behalf of VIE to see the festivities firsthand and bring back notes from the big city to the beach. Arriving at Lincoln Center feels something like stepping into a fashion-themed Cirque du Soleil: there is as much sartorial inspiration in the stars’ street-style looks as on the runways inside. Bold outfits, statement shoes, and even the most understated styles had photographers clamoring for shots. (See Olivia Palermo in denim on denim.)

For Spring/Summer 2015, the typical bright hues of the season evolved into sweet, muted shades that were both nostalgic and fresh. I immediately adored the palette of blushes, blues, and mint tones spotted on the Rebecca Minkoff and Mara Hoffman runways. A slew of “It Girls” at the Minkoff show included Zosia Mamet, Victoria Justice, Jessica Lowndes, and my aforementioned selfie buddies (nearly all were wearing draped leather moto jackets). There was a perfect balance of girly and edgy.

Today’s fashion world is easily influenced by up-andcoming bloggers with cult followings, just as it is by editors of long-published magazines. Getting up close and personal with all these stylish women was a highlight for me. I chatted with Lucky editor Eva Chen about her paper bag–inspired purse, took selfies with actresses Shay Mitchell, AnnaSophia Robb, and Jamie Chung, exited a show with E!’s resident divas Brie and Nikki Bella (getting workout tips and lipstick favorites, respectively), and complimented the outfits of Liz Cherkasova of Late Afternoon and Jacey Duprie of Damsel in Dior. I’m 99 percent sure we were dining next to designer Jason Wu one evening at Gato. And that was just between shows!


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n several runways, ladylike styles took center stage, with nods to the 1950s: full skirts, coordinated separates, and flashes of gingham. Plunging necklines, high-waisted denim, and fresh trench coats borrowed a page from the 1970s. My personal favorite combination, black and white, had a strong presence with stripes, bold prints, and strategic moments of contrast. As is the case each spring (and as we know in the Florida beach towns of 30-A), white reigns supreme and is constantly being reinvented in new silhouettes, as well as in perennial classics. Even a wardrobe consisting exclusively of white somehow seems attainable. And that’s just how fashion week works. There’s something about the shimmer and shine that makes what is essentially a business presentation seem magical. It makes everyday girls feel like A-listers. It spreads from the runways in New York all the way to the quiet corners of the world, and it makes a mundane task like getting dressed seem like an art form. Fashion week really is incredible. DESIGNER CHRISTIAN SIRIANO

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HERE ARE MY FAVORITE TRENDS FOR SPRING/SUMMER 2015: WHITE White on white in a variety of proportions (also known as #allwhiteverything)

1950s CHIC Crop tops, midi skirts, florals, gingham, full skirts, and proper handbags

1970s LUXE Wide-leg pants, suede, fringe, metallic textures, plunging necklines, bucket bags/slouchy bags, and platform shoes


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BLACK AND WHITE High contrast stripes, prints, and color blocking

SUGARY SHADES Sweet, muted shades reminiscent of a batch of LadurĂŠe macarons

PEOPLE + PLACES Fifteen Shades of Duh 15th Anniversary Celebration at Duh for Garden and Home Photography by Carmen Jones To celebrate fifteen years in business, Duh for Garden and Home held a “Fifteen Shades of Duh” masquerade ball at its location in downtown Pensacola, Florida. The black-tie affair took place on Valentine’s Day evening 2015 and was planned by Duh owners Quinn Stinson and Jim Rigsbee as


a way to thank all Duh’s team members and loyal customers who have supported their business in Pensacola from the beginning. Duh is known as one of the area’s most eclectic and revered retailers of luxury home and garden goods, furniture, and antiques.


Duh owner Quinn Stinson and Dan Kim


Shannon Cook and friend


Steven Sebold and Joshua Carter


From right: Jay Rigsbee, Duh owner Jim Rigsbee, Pam and Harry Schwartz


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PEOPLE + PLACES With live music performed by the 12 South Band from Nashville, dancing, drinks, and even a fireworks display, it was certainly a night to remember. The party was catered by Blake Rushing from Type and David Penniman from Classic City Catering. To learn more about Duh for Garden and Home, visit






Chris and Jenny Schulte


Erika and Jason Richards


Tara and Greg Woodfin with a friend


From right: Pensacola Mayor Ashton Hayward, An Hayward, Teri Levin, and friend V IE Z INE .C OM | 185




9 10

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Tony and Kim Rogers Susan and Brian Finger

Bella noTte linens | AidAn Gray | Regina Andrews Fourseasons Slip Covers | LilI Alessandra | And more

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B l og g er S p ot l i g h t

Sannam Style AND

By S annam Warrender Photography by Goodlight photography

As a native New York City girl, fashion has always been a fixture in my life, but my adopted home for the past few years has been Houston, Texas. I never thought I could become a Southern girl, having been a New Yorker for so long, but the charm and vibrancy of Houston has claimed me. I have been fascinated with the world of fashion my whole life. In an alternate reality, I would have gone to FIT or Parsons and pursued my passion sooner, but alas, my parents thought law school was a better choice. My love of fashion is apparent to anyone who knows me. It began when I was young (my mother was a fashionista as well), was marinated on the streets of New York, and has continued in my adult life via my blog, Sannam and Style, through and for which I voraciously follow fashion trends. My personal aesthetic is also reflected in my wardrobe choices, whether for my own closet or when assisting friends with their styling picks for everything: gala events, weddings, brunches, and date nights. I give answers to all-important questions such as “heels or flats?” Fashion is an art form like any other and it is continually morphing. Trends come and go, and like many

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women, I love to indulge in all things pertaining to style. I believe that fashion should be fun above all else. If you don’t have fun with it, you may as well live in a future full of unitards (Why is that always the featured couture in futuristic films?). Clothing and accessories are the  palette  through which this art form is expressed. When I see, read, or hear something innovative or interesting—a painting, a gadget, a great book, a symphony (or a beautiful bag paired with the perfect pair of shoes)—I always ask myself the same thing: “What sparked that idea?” I believe that everything creative, including the perfect outfit, starts with a spark.

I want to share ten of my favorite “sparks” that you need in your wardrobe right now! 1


A FITTED BLACK BLAZER: It can transform any outfit into polished chic, goes with just about everything, and can be purchased at any price point.


ANYTHING LEOPARD PRINT: Leopard prints have been around forever (think 1950s chic outerwear), but in the past few seasons, they have transformed into a wardrobe staple. Leopard can be incorporated in many forms, including a great pair of heels, a skirt, a clutch, or a top. I have invested in all of it, including a leopard coat, which never fails to receive compliments regardless of what else I am wearing.


LEATHER: Leather may evoke memories of 1980s pop videos, but the current look has gone decidedly chic and sophisticated. It can still be worn rock ’n’ roll style, but uptown chic is all the rage. Try a pastel hue for spring, or keep it classic with black.


A WHITE BUTTON-DOWN SHIRT: It goes with everything. If you buy a skirt and don’t know what to wear with it, I promise you a white shirt will always look fabulous. If you are overwhelmed and can’t put something together because you’re rushed, start with a white shirt.


A PERFECT PAIR OF JEANS: I know this may feel like looking for the “perfect” man, but I promise it is worth the effort. I am a big fan of J Brand jeans in a dark wash, but the best pair really depends on individual body type. When you find the perfect fit for you, buy as many as they make!


THE COLOR MARSALA: The Pantone Color of the Year for 2015, Marsala, is an earthy, reddish-brown wine color. It was shown on runways everywhere, and since it flatters most every skin tone, I think it is a great staple to have in your wardrobe. It also pairs beautifully with black, gray, white, blush pink, lilac, and even chartreuse. V IE Z INE .C OM | 189


A MEMORABLE SKIRT: This is something that can be dressed up or down and can be worn effortlessly with a T-shirt or a silky top.

Garden Street FabricS & deSiGn


A BIB NECKLACE: This accessory transforms an average outfit into a showstopper. I am a huge fan of my Pegasus necklace and have worn it with many of my OOTDs (outfits of the day). I find that after many years it still garners compliments wherever I go.


A CLASSIC BAG: A memorable bag completes an outfit while fulfilling the utilitarian objective of carrying the daily trappings of our lives. I love my Chanel boy bag; it is classic, but its cross-body style is also youthful and perfectly on trend.


STATEMENT SHOES: This is an area where I do let my imagination go wild. Shoes are a great place to splurge and invest. I have a blog post every Tuesday (#tuesdayshoesday) where I explore my current favorites—everything from stilettos and booties to studded flats.

Inspiration can be found anywhere, and that is the great thing about fashion! Fabrics • Furniture • Lighting • Design • Upholstery Slip covers • Draperies • Custom Bedding • Wall papers Headboards • Ottomans • Blinds • Rugs • Accessories 200 East Garden Street Pensacola, Florida • 850.733.0204 148 Miracle Strip Parkway SE, Ft. Walton Beach, Florida • 850.362.7277

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If you would like to read about some of my other sparks, you can follow my blog at and sign up for notifications via e-mail. You can also see what inspires me on Pinterest, and for a daily look into my fashion must-haves, I am on Instagram (@sannamandstyle)! XOXO Sannam

by colleen sachs photography by shane carter

3 0 A C O A S TA L D U N E S

C H A R D O N N AY Russian River Valley Sonoma County 2013 V IE Z INE .C OM | 191


hrough their respective businesses, restaurateur George Barnes (chef and owner of Smiling Fish Café for thirteen years and currently director of operations at 723 Whiskey Bravo in Seagrove Beach, Florida) and grocer Charlie Modica, Jr. (of Modica Market in Seaside) have had a big impact on the way people in the coastal communities along Scenic Highway 30-A eat. So it is only fitting that the two friends have teamed up to influence what those same people drink. The first wine from their company, 30A Coastal Dunes, has just been released. Barnes says the wine is about “friendships, relationships, and the beauty of this area.” In fact, the label artwork, done by Allison Wickey, is of 30-A’s Western Lake. Barnes describes it as an “identifying and iconic image of the area.” He says, “When I first saw that view, it captured my heart and made me wonder how I could move here.” Barnes did move to Santa Rosa Beach in the early nineties, and he’s been friends with Modica and his family ever since. Modica considers Barnes “not just a friend, but a brother.” The friendship that is such an important part of this wine extends beyond that of Barnes and Modica. In the mid-1990s, Barnes met Peter and Cathy Seghesio at a local wine dinner. Peter has deep roots in the California wine industry. The friendship grew with the Seghesios taking frequent trips to Florida and Barnes visiting the Seghesios at their home in Healdsburg, California, on many occasions (including his celebration of a milestone birthday). Barnes and Cathy Seghesio even realized they had worked for the same company when both were in New Orleans many years ago.

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the wine is about “ friendships, relationships, and the beauty of this area. ”

During this time, Modica was also getting to know the Seghesios. They would visit Seaside for Easter each year, and their sons, Joseph and Will, made a habit of having breakfast at Modica Market so their parents could have the luxury of sleeping in. Peter Seghesio had long encouraged Barnes to come to California not just to visit, but also to create a wine. Barnes finally felt the time was right to team with the Seghesios. Their San Lorenzo Winery is located in the cellar below their home on a vineyard that Peter’s maternal great-grandfather, Francesco Passalacqua, started in 1896 (the winery is named for Francesco’s hometown in Italy). Without question, the grapes that make up the 30A Coastal Dunes wine are important. They come from vineyards in California’s Russian River Valley, and while each of the vineyards produces grapes that create excellent single-vineyard Chardonnays, the blend of these carefully chosen grapes makes this a special wine. For example, a hefty percentage of a Montrachet clone is responsible for the wine’s lushness, while other grapes add balanced acidity. Once the grapes are chosen, the next step in the production is one of the things that make this wine so interesting. The juice from those exceptional grapes is fermented in large concrete eggs. The use of concrete in wine production goes back at least to the early nineteenth century. Concrete breathes, whereas stainless steel does not. That helps the wine become richer and more complex. It does this without creating the overpowering oakiness that can occur when wine is fermented in barrels. The resulting wine is brighter than one produced in oak, and softer and fruitier than one produced using stainless steel. The egg-shaped tank is an innovation of this century. A small temperature difference between the top and bottom of the tank create even circulation throughout the smooth interior. Having no corners in the tank also aids in circulation and creates greater contact with the lees. This helps to develop a wine with more complexity on the nose and the palate. The combination of the grapes and the concrete egg production makes 30A Coastal Dunes Chardonnay a beautiful wine. It is made in the style of white Burgundy. Its color is a clear straw yellow that hints at the medium body of the wine. A swirl in the glass shows legs that match its 14.3 percent alcohol content. V IE Z INE .C OM | 193

the resulting wine is brighter than one produced in oak, and softer and fruitier than one produced using stainless steel.

A sweet Southern experience

G o S ou t he r n . c om

Rentals | Management | Real Estate

There is abundant fruit on the nose, while the palate exhibits apple and ripe stone fruit. There is just enough oak to impart a welcome hint of vanilla. The mouthfeel is soft and silky. This unfined, unfiltered wine does double duty. It has a balance of acidity and fruit that makes it drinkable on its own. But it also has sufficient nuances, including a faint minerality, to pair beautifully with a myriad of seafood dishes. It makes the perfect complement to a simple pan-roasted fish, finishing the fish with a sauce using just a bit of the wine to deglaze the pan, and a touch of butter once it reduces. 30A Coastal Dunes Chardonnay is distributed by McNeese Distributing, LLC. It will be offered at 45 Central and Great Southern Café in Seaside, 723 Whiskey Bravo and Café Thirty-A in Seagrove Beach, Stinky’s Fish Camp in Dune Allen, George’s at Alys Beach, the Bay in Santa Rosa Beach, and Edward’s in Rosemary Beach by the glass or the bottle. Modica Market will also sell the wine by the glass, the bottle, and the case at a very reasonable price point: in the mid-$20 range per bottle. To keep up with the latest news about 30A Coastal Dunes wines, visit the website at Barnes and Modica want 30A Coastal Dunes to be a platform for preservation efforts in the 30-A area; of particular concern is the protection of the fragile coastal dune lakes. And they hope to get others involved in the company. For example, they are considering an artist series of labels for future wines (a red and a sparkler could be offered in the future). Modica says, “We want to encourage others to come on the journey with us.” With 30A Coastal Dunes Chardonnay it will be a lovely journey indeed.

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By Tori Phelps Photography courtesy of Helen Kaminski

In fashion circles, the Helen Kaminski brand is synonymous with prestige; the highly regarded accessory line is also extremely popular with celebrities. But status is the last thing on the minds of the creatives behind the Australian hat-and-bag company. Their yardstick is quality, and each mark on that yardstick measures whether a piece captures the passion on which the company was founded.

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M ore than thirty years ago, Helen Kaminski handcrafted a raffia hat to protect her children from the searing Australian sun. When that design—the Classic 5—was discovered by a Vogue editor in a country boutique, Kaminski’s eponymous brand hit the charts with a bullet. Today, that oncemodest collection of headwear styles has become a global powerhouse lauded for innovation and, of course, quality.

At the helm now is creative director Ailsa Roe, a UK native and fashion industry veteran who joined the company in 2009. An accessories fan with a passion for by-hand techniques, Roe found her corporate soul mate in Helen Kaminski, which stands out in a mass-produced, assembly-line world by still doing things the old-fashioned way. “The handcrafted pieces in our collections are expressions of individuality,” Roe says. “No two pieces will ever be exactly the same.” Helen Kaminski retails in nearly thirty countries across five continents, so the lines are designed to reflect a wide variety of climates and lifestyles. Its winter headwear collections range from cool cottons for warmer year-round climates to water-resistant finishes for autumn months and fine, felted wools and pure cashmere hand knits for cooler climates. The summer collections showcase linens, lightweight cottons, raffia crochets, and raffia braids.

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“ H AT S AR E TH E PER F E CT A CCE SSO RY TO C O M P L E T E A ND PE R SO N AL IZ E A N O UTF IT. ” The designs transcend cultural and geographic borders, so it’s fitting that the Helen Kaminski workforce does too. The company partners with artisans around the globe who transform age-old techniques into modern looks. Madagascar, which grows the highest-quality raffia palm in the world, became home to the company’s first dedicated workshop in 1985. In 2012, the company opened a workshop in a Sri Lankan village that was badly affected by the 2004 tsunami. Today, it employs over 350 artisans, with an additional 400 paid craftspeople in training. This global presence and the company’s dependence on nature for both raw materials and design inspirations have influenced the way Helen Kaminski does business. The brand’s long-term commitment to sustainability includes using renewable resources, extending product longevity, and continuously assessing the ways resources are used in order to lessen their environmental impact. It’s the right thing to do, but it also aligns with what customers want, notes Roe. “In a time when sophisticated global consumers seek products that reflect individual values, personal style, and respect for the environment, the Helen Kaminski legacy is more relevant than ever,” she says. It doesn’t hurt that the products are just plain amazing. Naturally, they’re designed to look good, courtesy of elements like premium finishes. But they’re also designed to perform well, especially for today’s on-the-go customers. Roe points to their range of practical hats in rollable raffia and felt as some of Helen Kaminski’s most popular. Other hot sellers include visors, hats with wider peaks that complement a street-chic style, and that perennial favorite, the fedora. As for handbags, she says clutches—of all sizes, shapes, and structures—are back in a big way.

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Not just a letter or circle. A simple line presents a way in or out. A solution. Find a way. —Suzy Accola, Owner

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hile handbags are always in vogue, hats seem to be hit or miss. Right now, they’re a massive hit, Roe confirms, partly due to the functional features that smart designers are building in. Many Helen Kaminski styles, for example, offer an ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) of 50-plus and are water resistant. More importantly: “Hats are the perfect accessory to complete and personalize an outfit,” she says. To keep up with evolving consumer desires and fashions, Roe reboots her creative spirit through lots—and lots—of travel. Describing herself as the “ultimate adventurer,” she frequently hops on a flight to explore new places and cultures. She’s danced with Maasai warriors, rafted the Nile, climbed New Zealand glaciers, and splashed with humpback whales. Naturally, these experiences make their way into Helen Kaminski collections. Roe filters them through seasonal color palettes or key prints, ending up with distinctive yet highly wearable pieces. Products aren’t just built around Roe’s creative expressions, however. It’s crucial that the company stays tuned to consumer lifestyles in order to deliver not only the aesthetics but the function that their fans insist on. The company’s increasingly mobile, tech-dependent consumers have prompted Helen Kaminski’s lines of travel wallets, passport holders, and cases to hold iPads and tablets. To satisfy vacationers who take winter breaks in the tropics and summer breaks on snowy mountains, the Autumn/Winter 2015 lines of Helen Kaminski and its menswear offshoot, Kaminski XY, will include a capsule collection of favorite raffia pieces that will be available year-round.

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“T H ERE’S AN EMERGI NG T REN D WHER E I MP ERF ECTIONS A RE C H ER ISHED.” Yet with the world at their fingertips, consumers also want a buying experience that’s not mass-produced. In essence, they crave products with a story. “There’s an emerging trend where imperfections are cherished, and the desire to purchase with a conscience is now a real factor in decision making,” Roe says. “We want to know what we’re buying, where it was made, and how it was made.” Perhaps that’s why Helen Kaminski is more popular than ever. The artistry and man-hours put into each piece are staggering. Take, for example, the Provence 12 hat, which has eighteen thousand stitches and takes two and a half days to crochet by hand. It takes five days to hand plait a 120-meter coil of raffia braid, with one hat eating up as much as eighty-five meters of braid. A crochet bag—done by hand, of course—can take more than six days to finish. Because of the labor and skill involved, Roe doesn’t just issue job assignments. She regularly visits the workshops to collaborate with artisans on everything from design to technique, ensuring that both she and they understand the possibilities and limitations of each process. This, she says, is one of the best parts of her job. “There’s nothing more rewarding than creative minds learning from each other and striving to achieve the same end goal,” she says. “It’s always at the forefront of our minds to respect the brand heritage while pushing boundaries, questioning, and moving the brand forward.” Here’s to another thirty years of pushing boundaries and exceeding expectations.

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YES, YOU ARE A HAT PERSON If hats as a fashion statement seem more “British royal family” than “Saturday morning errands,” you might be an American. In the United States, hats are largely seen as tools—a baseball cap when you have to leave the house before your morning shower or a wide-brimmed hat when you’re strolling the beach. But it’s time we started appreciating hats for their form rather than just their function. The first step in changing your “hattitude,” according to Ailsa Roe, is simply to spend some time trying them on. “There are a multitude of silhouettes and styles to flatter everyone,” she insists. “Trust me—once you find the style that suits you, hats will become your favorite accessory.”

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She hopes to speed up our conversion by providing no-fail suggestions for every face shape. Pay attention; it’s not every day that Helen Kaminski’s creative director offers to act as your personal stylist. ½ SMALL FACE: Shorter or medium brims will appear the most balanced for a small face or smaller frame. Fedoras and shorter-brimmed visors will complement your features well. Wider brims can be styled by flipping the brim up at the center front or the sides. ½ LONG OR NARROW FACE: Opt for either shallower crowns and medium brims or shorter peak lengths to balance your face shape. Deeper-fitting styles such as the cloche, the beret, and the baker boy will give the illusion of a shortened face shape. ½ ROUND FACE: While you can wear most styles, go for square crowns over round crowns, as taller crowns elongate the face. Choose berets or slouch beanies over close-fitting knit styles in the winter for the most face-flattering silhouettes. ½ SQUARE FACE: Longer and wider brims or peaks, cloches, and shorter-angled brims are flattering on you. Deep-fitting styles or voluminous silhouettes such as baker boys and berets are also good picks. ½ SHARP-ANGLED FACE: Opt for fedoras and menswear styles to complement your face shape, or choose wider brims or round crowns for a softer look. Styles with flow or movement in the brim will help to achieve this. ½ HEART-SHAPED FACE: You lucky few can wear the majority of headwear styles.

Tricia Petty Photography | Based in Panama City Beach Kansas Pitts Photography | Based in Santa Rosa Beach

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Brand Curators

AQUARACER CALIBRE 5 Cristiano Ronaldo is born to break all the records. His motivation is to win at every occasion to challenge the human statistics. Like TAG Heuer, Ronaldo surpasses the limits of his field and never cracks under pressure.

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Profile for The Idea Boutique

VIE Magazine March / April 2015  

A luxury lifestyle magazine, VIE , French for "life," celebrates just that— stories with heart and soul. Fusing fashion, travel, philanthrop...

VIE Magazine March / April 2015  

A luxury lifestyle magazine, VIE , French for "life," celebrates just that— stories with heart and soul. Fusing fashion, travel, philanthrop...